A recent investigation has been launched by FCC that could have as a result accusing Google of violation of the federal law by unintentionally Wi-Fi scraping with Street View cars. This action is a response to calls by advocates at the Electronic Privacy information Center requiring a check of whether the scanning has broken eavesdropping laws. If there are proofs of intentionally harvesting data, this could lead to up to $50,000 fines for each snooping instance identified, according to the Wall Street Journal. Neither Google nor the FCC had made any comments on the above mentioned accusations by now.
A penalty is less probable in the wake of the FTC stopped pursuing its investigation after Google decided to institute privacy changes including an overseer for privacy and mandatory training as well as the creation of privacy documents for each important project. The agency’s primary interest was to change Google’s policy instead of enforcement.
Google has been severely criticized for the way it handled the event. When the problem was first reported in the spring, Google insisted that no sensitive information had been collected by cars for Street View, as it was too brief to be used. Late in October, the company admitted that there were passwords, e-mail messages and web addresses included in that information.
Wi-Fi was originally included as Google intended only to map the location of access points for Wi-Fi, but an engineer’s test sequence meant to detect data was accidentally left in the hardware when Street View launched. Investigations in the United Kingdom already stated that Google had conducted illegal activity in that country. Other checks on the same topic are underway in South Korea and Europe.
Street View cars were grounded for a short time but resumed their work later without Wi-Fi.