Dutch Agency Orders Google To Remove Data About Citizens’ WiFi Routers

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.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Legal | Google: Outside US | Google: Street View | Legal: Privacy


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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