FCC fines Google over Street View probe delays

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Google's had its knuckles rapped by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for being too slow to cooperate with an investigation into Street View's unlawful collection of data.

It's been given a $25,000 fine - ther maximum possible - with the FCC saying it's 'deliberately impeded and delayed' the investigation over a period of many months.

The FCC is looking into Google's notorious harvesting of payload data in Germany between 2007 and 2010. The Street View cars which were mapping the country's were found to be also harvesting information from unprotected Wifi networks, including in some cases the contents of emails.

However, Google's consistently claimed that the data harvesting was accidental, and not authorized by the company.

However, the FCC is now complaining that Google's deliberately held the invstigation up, failing to produce documents when ordered to and omitting to identify the staff involved.

"Google persistently failed to provide declarations by individuals with personal knowledge verifying the accuracy and completeness of the company's LOI [Letter of Inquiry] responses," says the FCC.

"Google also failed to provide documents and information required by the Bureau's LOI. In several instances, the record reflects that Google's failure to comply with the Commission's directives was deliberate."

Indeed, says the FCC, Google failed to produce any relevant emails, claiming that finding them would be a 'time-consuming and burdensome'  task. Providing the staff names that the FCC has asked for served 'no useful purpose', Google claimed.