France Fines Google for Street View WiFi Data Grab

France has fined Google a record €100,000 (about $142,000 U.S.). This is the first fine leveled against Google after it was discovered last year that Google had collected Wi-Fi data, including e-mails and passwords, from unsecured networks while collecting Street View images for Google Maps.

Google unfairly collected information under French law and received economic benefits from the data; and "Google has not refrained from using the data identifying Wi-Fi access points of individuals without their knowledge," according to France's National Commission for Information Freedom (CNIL), the AFP reported.

After the ruling came out, Google once again apologized.

"As we have said before, we are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted WiFi networks," said Google's lawyer for privacy issues, Peter Fleischer. "Deleting the data has always been our priority, and we're happy the CNIL has given permission for us to do so," he added in a statement.

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About the author

Danny Goodwin formerly was Associate Editor of Search Engine Watch, where he also covered the latest search marketing and industry news. He joined Incisive Media in October 2007, in charge of copy editing columns that appeared on both Search Engine Watch and ClickZ. Prior to a life in the search industry, he worked in the journalism field, working in numerous newsroom positions, before later working as a freelance copy editor.