The search engine giant has landed in hot water with the German authorities over the contents of one hard drive used by the Google Cars, which it has been said to have captured users' Wi-Fi information.
The lawsuit filed by the German prosecutors against Google is for the illegal collection of data traffic carried by non-secure WiFi connections that were intercepted by its Google Cars when they were out collecting images using cameras and GPS devices for the Google Maps feature Street View. In European countries – unlike in the US – it is illegal to collect data about wireless traffic without prior permission from the network owners. This comes with a large fine and up to two years' imprisonment.
According to the Financial Times Google had a deadline of the 27th of May to hand over the drive in question but Google has refused several requests by data protection authorities, as Google has said that they could face fresh charges in it hands over the non-secure data. Google has requested additional time to come to a decision on this complex legal case.
Google has pin pointed the area at fault within some of the source code in its Street View data collection device – they have offered to destroy the drive and the data stored on the drive as soon as they are allowed to.
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