As governments around the world continue to go overboard
in their condemnations of Google's (admittedly bad) collection of open WiFi data via its Street View cars, much more interesting than the political grandstanding is the legal limbo mess that the collected data has been placed into
. After realizing that it had accidentally collected this data, Google announced that it would stop collecting and begin deleting the data it collected (Update
: more specifically, it said it wanted to delete the data, but would discuss with regulators before doing so). But that raised alarm bells from some, who worried that doing so would be deleting evidence
for a possible lawsuit against Google. Then, governments started demanding that Google share the data with regulators, so they could determine how serious a privacy breach this really was. However, Google is noting that sharing
the data would be a violation of privacy rights in many countries, pissing off regulators who put those privacy laws in place in the first place.
So... Google can't collect this data, but it can't delete the data it accidentally collected. Regulators want to see the data to see if it's okay for Google to delete it, but they can't see it, because that would violate privacy regulations. But, regulators feel they need to see it, to see if Google violated privacy regulations. So, basically everyone's stuck in a state of limbo.