Google has refused to release one of the hard drives containing users' Wi-Fi information demanded by German authorities.
The Financial Times reports that German prosecutors set a deadline for Google to hand over the hard drive as a part of their ongoing criminal investigation, but that ended yesterday.
A lawsuit had been filed against Google by German prosecutors for illegally collecting data about the traffic carried by non-secure WI-Fi connections encountered by its Google Cars when they were out collecting images using cameras and GPS devices for the Google Maps feature Street View.
Refusing several requests made by data protection authorities in Hamburg to hand over the hard drive containing illegally collected data, Google said that it could face fresh charges if it handed over the data.
The search engine giant has requested for extra time to come to a decision regarding this legally complex case.
Unlike in the USA, it is illegal to collect data about wireless traffic in European countries without the prior permission of the network owner. Doing so can result in a a large fine and up to two years' imprisonment.
Google balmes its mistake on a coding error in its Street View data collection device, and has offered to destroy the stored data as soon as it is allowed to do so.