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Google Fined $25,000 by the FCC

"Payload data" breach in Street View is identified


Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Street View, which allows site visitors to get a complete view of any location they map a location they want to see online, has run afoul with the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC has fined Google $25,000 for collecting personal information without any permissions according to Yahoo’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Yahoo! Finance. Furthermore, the agency found that Google has not been forthcoming or helpful during the investigation leading to the fine.

Google’s Street View gives users of its Google Map and Google Earth access to street level images of buildings and land near roads, highways, and streets. The information for the application was gathered between May 2007 and May 2010, however according to the FCC Google did more than just collect data for the mapping process.

Google also obtained passwords, personal usage history, and other data that was not required for the mapping project, leading to the investigation. The data collected by Google, called “payload data” is  personal information sent over networks that is unauthorized by the user.

The collection of “payload data” is unlawful under the TeleCommunications Act of 1996. According to Yahoo! Finance, the FCC addressed the matter in an April 13 order:

 “Google refused to identify any employees or produce any e-mails. The company could not supply compliant declarations without identifying employees it preferred not to identify,” according to an FCC order dated April 13.

“Misconduct of this nature threatens to compromise the commission’s ability to effectively investigate possible violations of the Communications Act and the commission’s rules.”

To this point, Google has made no official comment on the matter.

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