Google fined $25,000 for impeding US inquiry on street data collection

Washington, Apr 16: US federal regulators have charged Internet search giant Google with ‘deliberately impeding and delaying’ an investigation into the data collection and has ordered a 25,000 dollar fine on the firm.

Google was accused of sweeping up sensitive personal information from wireless home networks while collecting information for its street mapping.

Two years ago, the US Federal Trade Commission, accepted Google’s explanation that it was “mortified by what happened” while collecting information for its Street View project, and its promise to impose internal controls.

But now a report by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has slammed Google for repeatedly failing to respond to requests for e-mails and other information and refusing to identify the employees involved, The New York Times reports.

“Although a world leader in digital search capability, Google took the position that searching its employees’ e-mail ‘would be a time-consuming and burdensome task,” the report said.

When the commission asked Google to identify those responsible for the program, Google “unilaterally determined that to do so would ‘serve no useful purpose,’ ” according to the FCC report added.

According to the paper, while Google’s original intentions and actions with the project are still unclear, the commission’s report and fine are likely to energize an ongoing debate about Internet privacy. (ANI)