Google not only escaped criminal prosecution in Germany after its Street View cars were found to be capturing private wifi traffic, but it has now pretty much walked away scott-free as the Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information fined it just €145,000 ($190,000).
Prosecutor Stories April 22, 2013
Prosecutor Stories October 12, 2012
Report: Google sidesteps any fault in Germany as prosecutors drop Street View probe
German prosecutors investigating the Street View Wi-Fi data-cropping scandal just announced they are no longer going after Google.
Bloomberg reported this morning that the public prosecutors office in Germany apparently could not find any criminal violations during its two-year-long probe into the Street View matter:
German prosecutors will drop a criminal probe into whether Google Inc. illegally gathered wireless-network data for its Street View mapping service, two people familiar with the issue said.
Prosecutors in the city of Hamburg didn’t find criminal violations, according to the people, who declined to be identified because the matter hasn’t formally ended.
Google’s Street View is a service highlighted in Google Maps and Google Earth that offers panoramic views of streets, but the global plotting venture ran into hot water when complaints surfaced in 2010 that it allegedly poached unencrypted Internet data from wireless networks for roughly three years.
A privacy complaint was subsequently filed in Germany in 2010, but Google has now reportedly sidestepped any fault in that particular country. It has, however, run into penalties across the world for its handling of inquiries.
The Federal Communications Commission, for instance, found the search engine did not break any laws, but it slapped the Mountain View, Calif.-based company with a $25,000 fine earlier this year for obstructing its investigation.
Get the full report at Bloomberg.
Prosecutor Stories June 18, 2012
As noted in a recent post on the Official Google Blog, Google recently made changes to the Transparency Report that launched a couple of years ago to report data on “government requests.” The interactive reports, which are available here, already included user data requests from courts and government agencies, real-time and historical traffic from various Google services worldwide, and removal requests from both governments and copyright owners. Google is adding data related to government requests today for user information and the removal of blogs posts and videos made from July 2011 to December 2011:
Today we’re releasing data showing government requests to remove blog posts or videos or hand over user information made from July to December 2011… Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different. When we started releasing this data in 2010, we also added annotations with some of the more interesting stories behind the numbers. We noticed that government agencies from different countries would sometimes ask us to remove political content that our users had posted on our services. We hoped this was an aberration. But now we know it’s not… For the six months of data we’re releasing today, we complied with an average of 65% of court orders, as opposed to 47% of more informal requests.
An example of some of the requests is outlined by Google’s Senior Policy Analyst Dorothy Chou: expand full story