Media News - Monday, April 16, 2012
Google has been fined USD 25,000 for impeding a US investigation into its collection of wireless network data for its Street View project, which allows users to see street level images when they map a location. The Federal Communications Commission imposed the fine late on Friday, saying Google had collected personal information without permission and had then deliberately not co-operated with the FCC's investigation. The company collected the data between 2007 and 2010, when a car driving around various locations in the US and, later, Europe, took photos of locations from public places – but also collected information from unprotected Wi-Fi networks, including the location, name and in some cases the content including emails. The FCC's investigation was left unresolved, according to the New York Times, because one key participant – the Google engineer in charge of the project – cited Fifth Amendement rights and declined to talk to it. The US constitution's Fifth Amendment protects the right to silence of someone accused by the government of a crime. Between May 2007 and May 2010, Google collected data from Wi-Fi networks throughout the US and across the world as part of its Street View project, which gives users of Google Map and Google Earth the ability to view street-level images of structures and land adjacent to roads and highways. But Google also collected passwords, internet usage history and other sensitive personal data that was not needed for its location database project, the FCC said. Google publicly acknowledged in May 2010 that it had collected the so-called "payload data". (The Guardian)
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