Google's Streetview privacy faux-pas has come back to haunt the search giant today, although admittedly, the fine imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a laughably small sum.
A couple of years back, Google was hauled across the coals, globally, for "mistakenly" collecting data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks via its Streetview cars. The FCC has only just now decided to deliver a slap on the wrist to Google, with regards to its cooperation during the aftermath of the affair.
Apparently, during the investigation of the Wi-Fi privacy issue, Google repeatedly failed to respond to various requests for information, and also refused to name the employees involved in the Wi-Fi hoovering.
The FCC has therefore decided that the search company "deliberately impeded and delayed" the resulting investigation, and should be fined $25,000 (over £15,700).
Yes, it's not a lot, but the decision is in marked contrast to the FCC's previous stance on the affair - whereby it accepted Google's explanation and sincere apologies.
The FCC's report wryly noted: "Although a world leader in digital search capability, Google took the position that searching its employees' e-mail ‘would be a time-consuming and burdensome task."
A Google's spokesperson's response was: "We worked in good faith to answer the F.C.C.'s questions throughout the inquiry, and we're pleased that they have concluded that we complied with the law."
Google still has the Wi-Fi data, which hasn't been examined, but this must keep until regulators give it the all clear to delete it, and this matter is then finally put to bed.
Source: NY Times (opens in new tab)