Google escaped penalties associated with the Federal Communications Commission’s electronic eavesdropping law in the agency’s investigation of private user data collection through Street View mapping. There simply isn’t a precedent for applying the law to unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
However, the FCC did propose a $25,000 fine against Google. The search company “deliberately impeded and delayed” the investigation into the 2010 incident for several months, according to a Saturday FCC news release.
According to the FCC, Google was reluctant to cooperate with investigators. An engineer who developed the Street View code chose to use his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination and refused to provide testimony.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, a Google spokesperson said, “We worked in good faith to answer the FCC’s questions throughout the inquiry, and we are pleased that they have concluded that we complied with the law.”
Google will have the opportunity to appeal the FCC’s fine.