The possibility to opt out off line which Google has proposed is to have the owner of the WiFi router change the SSID, so that it starts for instance with the letters ‘no map’. In that case, no data related to that WiFi router are filed. If this opt out possibility is adopted, SSIDs may be consulted, but may not be filed.
Following research, the Dutch DPA imposed incremental penalty payments on Google concerning the collected data on WiFi networks. Since, Google has complied with the notification requirement for the processing of data. Apart from providing an opt out Google is also obliged to inform – off line as well as on line - data subjects about the collection by Google of data on WiFi routers by means of Street View cars, for the purpose of its geolocation service. In addition Google is obliged to irrevocably erase the SSIDs.
Google has collected data on roughly 3,6 million WiFi routers in the Netherlands, secured as well as unsecured, using the Street View cars between 4 March 2008 and 6 May 2010. For each router, the company has calculated a location. In doing so Google has violated the Dutch Data Protection Act. In this context, MAC addresses combined with a calculated location are personal data because the data can provide information about the WiFi router’s owner.
Google can lodge an appeal against the decision of the Dutch DPA in court.