updated 05:40 pm EDT, Tue April 19, 2011
Dutch authorities threaten new fines
The Dutch Data Protection Authority (Dutch DPA) has threatened Google with new penalties of up to $1.4 million over its collection of MAC addresses while gathering data for its Street View mapping service. To date, this would be the largest fine levied against Google related to Street View.
Google has collected the MAC addresses from over 3.6 million Dutch Wi-Fi routers while it has been taking street-level photographs of Dutch streets. The Dutch DPA contends that these addresses, each of which is unique to a specific router, constitutes personal data, and that Google should give the router owners an option to "opt-out." If Google does not comply within three months, then the maximum penalty would be levied.
This is just one of several encounters that Google has had with European authorities over the possible invasion of people's privacy. In June of last year, Google agreed to hand over private data to German, French and Spanish authorities that the company had collected from unsecured private Wi-Fi networks. [via The Wall Street Journal]