Google Pay $142,000 for Privacy Violation

>> Tuesday, March 22, 2011

France’s data privacy regulator has fined Google €100,000 for gathering data from private Wi-Fi networks while collecting imagery for Google Street View....

Google Street View has been controversial from the start, Many people and privacy groups didn’t like Google collecting imagery of buildings, license plates and faces for the panoramic view service, complementary to Google Maps.

Google answered those complaints by blurring sensitive parts of the images, but the service raised far more privacy concerns in May 2010, when Google admitted that its Street View cars collected and stored data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks. The incident instigated privacy probes against Google in countries all over the world, including in Australia, Canada, Germany, South Korea and the U.S.
      In August 2010, French police stopped a Google Street View car under orders of National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties to inspect whether Google was still collecting Wi-Fi data.

Now, National Commission said that Google has pledged to erase the data it had collected, but it found “that Google has not refrained from using the data identifying Wi-Fi access points of individuals without their knowledge,” which prompted the fine.
       The head of the CNIL Yann Padova told Le Parisien that it is a record fine since the power in 2004 to impose financial sanctions in 2004.

In July 2010, Google said that its “cars will no longer collect any Wi-Fi information at all,” but the fallout from the incident is still a reminder of how unpleasant the consequences of not respecting users’ privacy can be — especially for a giant company like Google.

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