Monday, March 28, 2011

France fines Google in Street View data case

France's data protection regulator has fined Google 100,000 euros for collecting private data from wireless networks when its camera-equipped cars gathered footage for its on-line map service Street View.

The Commission nationale de l'information et des libertes (CNIL) told Google in May 2010 to stop the practice and asked it to turn over a copy of the information it had collected.

That led to the fine being imposed on Monday.

Google's problems with data collection within Street View, which lets users click on maps to see photographs of actual roads and their environs, started last year. At that time, Google disclosed that its Street View cars around the world had collected private data, such as emails and Internet surfing records, from unsecured wireless networks.

That led to the regulatory authorities in a number of countries, including France, the United States, Switzerland, the UK and Singapore to look into Street View.

"We are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted WiFi networks," said Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel, in an emailed statement.

"As soon as we realized what had happened we stopped collecting all WiFi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities."


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