Google misses German data handover deadline

Google has failed to provide the German data protection regulator with the personal information it collected by accident in its Street View mapping activity. The regulator had insisted that any data captured by the company’s vans – as a result of software code “accidentally” included in its mapping system – be handed over as its collection contravened Germany’s data protection laws.

The overshot deadline reflects the problems of uneven global standards for data protection, according to Liz Fitzsimons, senior associate at international law firm Eversheds. “Google’s position is a prime example of how complex global data protection issues have become and how difficult it can be to meet all the differing requirements put in place by various countries at the right time.” 

While Google has committed to co-operating with the German regulators, it seems to be struggling with the timeframe for delivering the data, despite the resources at its disposal. Unravelling the personal information from the public WiFi network data that it was ostensibly mapping has clearly proved to be challenging.

Says Fitzsimmons: “It is key to think through in advance and to be able to justify and deal properly and compliantly with the collection and use of any additional personal data on a country-by-country level. Organisations must now realise that personal information about other people cannot just be obtained and stored or used without justification and without putting in place the correct compliance steps. Regulators around the world are increasingly challenging the attitude of business and pushing back on proposed data use.”

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