Google has been fined for $25,000 for obstructing a U.S. investigation into the Web search leader’s data collection for its Street View project, which permits users to view street level pics when they start mapping a location.
The Federal Communications Commission charged the fine , saying Google had collected private information without getting permission and had then intentionally not cooperated with the FCC’s interrogation.
“Google refused to identify any employees or produce any e-mails. The company could not supply compliant declarations without identifying employees it preferred not to identify,” according to an FCC order dated April 13.
“Misconduct of this nature threatens to compromise the commission’s ability to effectively investigate possible violations of the Communications Act and the commission’s rules.”
Google said in a statement said it turned over information to the FCC and confronted the finding that it was not cooperative.
“As the FCC notes in their report, we provided all the materials the regulators felt they needed to conclude their investigation and we were not found to have violated any laws,” the company said in a statement. “We disagree with the FCC’s characterization of our cooperation in their investigation and will be filing a response.”
Between May 2007 and May 2010, Google collected data from wi-fi networks throughout the United States and across the world as part of its Street View project, which gives users of Google Map and Google Earth the ability to view street-level images of structures and land adjacent to roads and highways.
The FCC further said “Google also collected passwords, Internet usage history and other critical personal information that was not required for its location database project”
Google publicly accepted in May 2010 that it had collected the so-called payload data, leading to an FCC’s interrogation on whether it had infringed the Communications Act.