FCC Proposes $25,000 Fine on Google (maps collecting data from unencrypted Wi Fi) [View all]
Source: Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission proposed a $25,000 fine on Google Inc., accusing the search giant of deliberately obstructing an investigation into whether the company violated federal rules when its street-mapping service collected and stored data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks in 2010.
The agency proposed the fine late Friday night as it faced a deadline for taking action on the "Wi-Spy" case. Google representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the proposed fine.
The FCC's action is based on what it said was Google's reluctance to cooperate with the investigation. In a notice released Saturday, the agency said that for several months, "Google deliberately impeded and delayed" the agency's investigation into the data collection. A Google engineer who developed the Street View code used to collect the data declined to provide testimony to the agency and invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The agency did not fine Google for actually violating the federal communications law designed to prevent electronic eavesdropping. There is no precedent for applying the FCC law to unprotected Wi-Fi networks, and the agency concluded there was not enough evidence to conclude Google had violated those rules.