Google Fined $25,000 By FCC in “Wi-Spy” Case

Google Car Gets Ticket

The FCC has proposed a $25,000 fine against Google on the grounds that the global search giant "deliberately impeded" their 2010 investigation into the collection of private user data through available unsecured Wi-Fi networks during its Street View mapping and did so for several months. Google stated that the data collection in question that occurred was "inadvertent" and that it had stopped the practice immediately once it had discovered that it was happening.

The FCC proposed the fine late Friday on the cusp of the deadline for taking action on the infamous "Wi-Spy" case. Google will still have an opportunity to appeal the fine before the decision becomes final. The government agency did not actually fine Google for violating the FCC’s electronic eavesdropping law in this case, stating that there simply is no precedent for applying the law to unsecured Wi-Fi networks. The FCC went on to say that Google was reluctant to cooperate in the investigation which is the reason for the fine.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal that, "We worked in good faith to answer the FCC’s question’s throughout the inquiry, and we are pleased that they have concluded that we complied with the law." A Google engineer that helped to develop the Street View technology code chose to invoke Fifth Amendment rights in order to avoid self-incrimination and refused to provide a testimony in the investigation.

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