Dutch data officials have ordered Google to give the country’s residents a way to remove data that Google has about where their WiFi routers are located. It’s part of the ongoing dispute over Google’s collection of personal information via unencrypted wifi networks — something the company has said all along was accidental.
According to the Associated Press, Google has already deleted the data that it collected in The Netherlands (as it’s also done in some other countries). But the Dutch Data Protection Agency (DPA) says Google’s knowledge and use of where those WiFi networks are located “still amounts to gathering personal information.”
A Google spokesman tells the AP that Google can’t identify individuals from where their routers are and “nor would we want to.”
It’s all getting a bit silly at this point, frankly, especially when you consider that other companies have also been collecting WiFi network location information around the world for years. It’s what makes many location-based services possible.
In any case, and my opinion aside, Google has three months to respond to the DPA order.