Google banned from Austrian roads over WLAN scandal

Austrian data protection watchdogs have stopped Google from filming the country’s streets for its controversial Street View service.The Federal Data Protection Commission (DSK) said today (Thurs) it had decided to take the drastic step over news that Google had “accidentally” recorded wireless LAN internet connection information using its cars in in some European countries.A DSK official said: “We have asked Google Inc. to provide a precise technical description of its data tracing methods by 7 June.”DSK head Waltraut Kotschy said she expected the examination of the issue to take around two months before the body decided whether to let Google’s cars back on Austrian roads and lift the ban.Researchers Oekonsult announced earlier this week that 90.3 per cent of the around 1,100 Austrians they interviewed told them their opinion of the American internet firm had worsened after last week’s revelation that it garnered wireless LAN access information – information that on the face of it has little to do with visual image gathering.News that Google has been preliminarily banned from streets in Austria comes just weeks after a Street View car driver was attacked by an angry Upper Austrian pensioner with a pickaxe.Hermann Zach said he became so angry at the sight of the car on the street outside his home in Steyregg that he chased after its horrified driver wielding a pickaxe.”I was working in the garden when I noticed this weird car on the road. I told the driver to make a move but he just didn’t listen. So I grabbed my pickaxe and ran after him,” the 70-year-old said.Neighbours managed to overpower Zach, but also started to collect signatures against Google’s activities.