Google misses German data deadline

Google has missed the deadline German regulators had set for the snooping search engine outfit to hand over data it collected over private WiFi networks with its high-tech Street View vehicles.

Missing the deadline means Google could face a fine of hundreds of thousands of euros, but the outfit reckons it needs more time to consider the legal implications, the FT reports.

The data protection authority in Hamburg had asked Google to hand over the original hard disks on which its illegally-obtained data reside. These have already been destroyed, however, but Google still has the data somewhere, but seems reluctant to hand it over.

The deadline passed at midnight on Wednesday, but Google said: "We want to co-operate with requests... but as granting access to payload data creates legal challenges in Germany which we need to review, we are continuing to discuss the appropriate legal and logistical process for making the data available," Google said. "We hope, given more time, to be able to resolve this difficult issue."

The Hamburgers are investigating what they call an "unauthorised interception of data". The information commissioner also wants to inspect one of the cars used to snoop around the streets snapping up everything it can find.

Prof Dr Johannes Caspar, Hamburg's data protection commissioner, did not accept Google's prevarications. In a statement he said the snooping outfit would not face criminal action by handing over the hard drive.

But it might, depending on what is on it, we assume.