Historic Fine Imposed on Google by German Authorities for Privacy Issue

By Ed Silverstein April 22, 2013

The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information has fined Google about $190,000 because the company illegally recorded Wi-Fi networks in connection with the Street View service.

Data of unencrypted Wi-Fi connections was recorded, officials claim. The incidents took place between 2008 and 2010.

The captured data includes personal data, such as e-mails, passwords, photos and chat protocols, authorities said.

Google has been told to delete all of the illegally-captured data, authorities add.

“In my estimation this is one of the most serious cases of violation of data protection regulations that have come to light so far. Google did cooperate in the clarification thereof and publicly admitted having behaved incorrectly. It had never been the intention to store personal data, Google said. But the fact that this nevertheless happened over such a long period of time and to the wide extent established by us allows only one conclusion: that the company internal control mechanisms failed seriously,” Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, said in a recent agency statement.

The regulatory agency would like to have fined Google more – but there is a limit by law how much the fine could total.

Google, however, said the data collection, was accidental.

"The project leaders never wanted this data, and didn't use it or even look at it," Google said in statement quoted by The Los Angeles Times and carried by TechZone360. "We cooperated fully with the Hamburg DPA throughout its investigation."

In addition, in March Google said it would pay a $7 million fine as part of a multi-state settlement in the United States related to the same incidents, TechZone360 added. Also, the FCC fined Google $25,000 for allegedly hindering an investigation into data collection practices, the report adds.

Also, European officials were called upon by German regulators to increase fines for such privacy violations, The New York Times reported.

The fine in the Google case was nevertheless the largest ever by European regulators in response to a privacy case, The NY Times adds.

Google says it wants to do the right thing.

“We work hard to get privacy right at Google,” Peter Fleischer, a Google attorney, said in a statement quoted by The NY Times. “But in this case we didn’t, which is why we quickly tightened up our systems to address the issue.”




Edited by Ashley Caputo

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Verizon, Oh Verizon, Where Are You Going?

By: Doug Mohney    2/23/2017

Last June, Verizon closed a $4.4 billion deal to buy AOL. Executives said the acquisition would enable the company to layer AOL's advertising strength…

Read More

AMD: The Time For Ryzen Has Arrived

By: Rob Enderle    2/23/2017

The Ryzen part is a powerful alternative to Intel's offering, which will result in several new, more powerful, and affordable systems for those that g…

Read More

Voice 2017 - Best of Times, Worst of Times

By: Doug Mohney    2/21/2017

Voice is in a unique position these days, judging from the conversations I've had over the past six weeks during CES and ITEXPO. Available quality is …

Read More

Needed: Better Location Tech for RideShare Services

By: Doug Mohney    2/21/2017

Uber, Lyft, and other ride services have pushed the bounds of location tech to the point of frustration for end-users, both drivers and customers alik…

Read More

Human Carrying Drones May Arrive in 2017

By: Rob Enderle    2/21/2017

There are a couple really big problems that will likely make human carrying drones more of a tourist attraction than a real solution for some time, bu…

Read More