Google's Street View Disaster Costs Only $25,000
posted Saturday Apr 14, 2012 by Scott Ertz
It has been a long time since the disaster that was the Google Street View data collection issue. In case you forget, Google's Street View cars, the vehicles that drive around taking photos of everyone's houses and businesses, were found to be using WiFi scanners to connect to hotspots and log their names and locations. Well, it turns out that they were also collecting data off of these networks, both personal and corporate. There was so much outrage over this that even the German government told Google they had crossed a line, which is saying something.
All of this took place 2 years ago now and, because of the lightning speed of the government when they aren't trying to squash a business for doing what they were asked to do or preventing a major merger, the FCC is finally responding to the issue. This week, the FCC ruled on, not the case itself, but on Google's actions during the investigation. According to the FCC, and sheer logic if you know the company, Google deliberately worked to delay or mislead the investigators. Because of this, the FCC has issued a $25,00 fine against the company.
What did the FCC have to say about this and how will it affect Google? Hit the break to find out.
An FCC report said,
Google violated Commission orders by delaying its search for and production of responsive e-mails and other communications, by failing to identify employees, and by withholding verification of the completeness and accuracy of its submissions... Google's level of cooperation with this investigation fell well short of what we expect and require.
FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Michele Ellison said that they "found that while personal data such as emails, passwords and web histories were collected en masse by Google cars driving streets across America, the available information did not prove a violation of the privacy provisions of communications laws." So, no laws were broken, except impeding a government investigation. For that, only a $25,000 fine.
For those of you keeping track, that is about the same as you being arrested for stealing mail from people all over your neighborhood and being fined a quarter. You could probably turn over the couch cushions or look in your ash tray and find that money. Facebook spent a billion dollars to keep a product away from Twitter, one they probably didn't even want, so for Google to be fined $25,000 is literally a slap on the wrist. They will learn nothing from this, and it will not affect the company in any significant way.
Do you think this is a fair verdict? Did Google violate the law or just invade people's privacy? Let us know in the comments.