Google Receives $25,000 Fine from FCC for Impeding Investigation

By Miguel Leiva-Gomez April 17, 2012

In 2010, Google revealed that the cars it used to map out regions in its Google Maps Street View feature have been peeking into open wireless networks, grabbing sensitive data. Google officially said that the data collection was a mistake. This past weekend, regulators have stated that Google has “deliberately impeded and delayed” any investigations regarding its data collection. As a result, the company received a $25,000 fine from the FCC.

The Federal Communications Commission has first found that Google isn’t really doing anything out of its legal limits. However, it seems that Google isn’t fully cooperating with the investigation into what has happened, failing to give authorities information about the employees involved. Google, in the report, stated that it was “mortified by what happened” and promised to respond to the situation swiftly.

No information has been released by the company regarding the identity of the persons involved. The report mentioned: “Although a world leader in digital search capability, Google took the position that searching its employees’ email ‘would be a time-consuming and burdensome task.’ “ An engineer suspected to be behind the data collection operations invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, making the FCC hold Google responsible for impeding the investigation even further.

Google has also claimed that revealing the identities of the people involved in data collection would “serve no useful purpose,” the report said. Despite the tension, the FCC has concluded that there was no illegal activity on behalf of Google itself, because the information gathered was easily visible to anyone else, as it was unencrypted.

A spokeswoman for Google responded to the situation, saying, “We worked in good faith to answer the FCC’s questions throughout the inquiry, and we’re pleased that they have concluded that we complied with the law.”

As far as we know, Google still has its hands on the collected data, but claims that it never peeked into it. The company intends to delete all information once regulators give it the green light to do so.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

TechZone360 Contributor

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