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Google Hit With FCC $25,000 Fine

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)

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.