Google Blames FCC for Street View Investigation Delays

Google Street View Cars Tricycle India

Google today filed a 17-page response to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), accusing the government agency of causing delays that slowed down the Street View Wi-Fi data grab investigation and resulted in Google paying a $25,000 fine.

In its ruling, the FCC accused Google of “deliberately” impeding and delaying the 17-month investigation into Google’s collection of payload data (including emails, email addresses, user names, passwords, names, telephone numbers, addresses, and medical condition info) from Wi-Fi networks that weren’t password protected.

Google disagreed with the FCC’s ruling, noting that there were “two periods of silence — one gap of 83 days and another gap of 52 days — in which Google never heard from the agency,” Politico reported.

“As the FCC said in their report, we provided all the materials necessary for them to conduct their investigation,” a Google spokeswoman told Politico. “We agree with the FCC’s conclusion that we did not break the law, but believe that we did cooperate in their investigation, and we made that clear in our response.”

Google also shot back over FCC complaints that Google didn’t allow access to an engineer who wrote the program that allowed Street View to collect the data.

“The fact that the engineer was legally unavailable did not leave any significant factual questions unanswered,” Google wrote.

Mockery of Google’s $25,000 fine made it to “The Daily Show” last week, where Jon Stewart points out that “Google makes $25,000 in the amount of time it took me to say the words twenty-five thousand dollars.” He also got a good dig in at Google+ during the segment.


U.S. Congressman Ed Markey and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) have urged for a larger investigation into Google’s Street View data collection. EPIC has also filed a Freedom of Information Act request to receive an unredacted version of the FCC’s Google Street View report.

Although Google appears to be clear of the Street View mess, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to fine Google for bypassing Safari’s privacy settings, possibly by mid-May, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

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