Google Fined In Germany Over Street View Data Collection
A German privacy regulator fined Google €145,000 on Monday for its systematic, illegal collection of personal data while it was creating its Street View mapping service, and it called on European lawmakers to significantly raise fines for violations of data protection laws.
It found that while specially equipped Google vehicles took city snapshots between 2008 and 2010 for its Street View function, which supplements its standard map service, they had also picked up data from unsecured wireless networks.
“Among the information gathered in the drive-bys were significant amounts of personal data of varying quality. For example emails, passwords, photos and chat protocols were collected,” the Hamburg authorities said in a statement.
Hamburg data regulator Johannes Caspar explained: “In my view, this is one of the biggest data protection rules violations known,” said Caspar. Google’s “internal control mechanisms must have severely failed.”
It not the first time Google as been fined for such a breach of data protection, with the French privacy regulator levying a €100,000 penalty on Google in 2011. However Google has now tightened up its policy with using the Google Street View car systems to address issues raised in the latest data protection violation, Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, said in a statement.
The commissioner also ordered Google to delete all the data it had gathered. A third party verified that Google indeed deleted the data.
Google said it would not appeal the fine.