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Google fined by FCC for Street View cars info collection

Friday the 13th turned out to be unlucky for Google, as the Federal Communications Commission issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture against the company.

The issue? Google's Street View cars, which wander collecting video for its site, also sucked up and saved payload data from unencrypted Wi-Fi communications. Payload data is data that goes beyond the headers of a network packet. Identified items include the network, the destination, some or all of the information like visited URLs, downloaded e-mails, text from uploaded documents and more. 

Several countries have investigated Google for this invasion of privacy. France fined Google not for the data collection itself, but for the company's failure to deal with the French privacy office's request for action in a timely fashion.

Australia called it the "single greatest breach in the history of privacy." The country's leaders agreed that Google had breached Aussie privacy law, but their laws do not provide for any action to be taken against the company.

And until Friday the 13th, Google had gotten away with it in the U.S. The FCC's issue seems to be the company not responding to the Commission's investigation of the issue in a timely manner. In its fifth notice, the FCC fined Google for "apparent liability for forfeiture" in the amount of $25,000. 

Published Apr 17 2012, 11:46 AM by IdentityTheft
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