F.C.C. Investigates Google Street View

The Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday that it was investigating whether Google had violated laws when it collected Wi-Fi data as part of its Street View photo project, reports the New York Times. News of the F.C.C. investigation came just two weeks after the Federal Trade Commission halted its own inquiry into the Google project without taking action.

“Last month, Google disclosed that its Street View cars collected passwords, e-mails and other personal information wirelessly from unsuspecting people across the country,” Michele Ellison, chief of the F.C.C’s enforcement bureau, said Wednesday in a statement. Street View is a project that Google began in 2007 to add street-level pictures to its mapping service. The images are collected by cars that use cameras to capture 360-degree views and link the images with GPS data. The project has expanded across the United States and into at least 30 other countries…

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UK: Google was in ‘significant breach’ of data law

Google violated Britain’s data protection laws when its Street View mapping service recorded data from private wireless networks, the country’s information commissioner said Wednesday. The American Internet search giant will escape any fines, however, so long as it pledges not to do it again, reports the Associated Press. Google Inc. drew international outrage after it emerged that its Street View cars, which take street-level photographs to illustrate the company’s popular mapping service, had also been scooping up e-mails, Internet addresses and passwords from unencrypted wireless networks. Scotland Yard recently said it would not launch a criminal inquiry into the beach, which the company has described as inadvertent…

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FTC drops Google StreetView inquiry; other countries, not so much

The Federal Trade Commission has ended its inquiry of Google and the data it collected from unsecured wireless hotspots, citing the company’s improved privacy policies, reports ZDNet. Not only will the FTC not fine Google, but regulators “had received assurances from Google that it ‘has not used and will not use any of the payload data collected in any Google product or service, now or in the future.’” If only Google could get off so easily elsewhere in the world. In Italy, Google is facing tough new requirements for marking the StreetView cars and registering their itineraries, while the Czech Republic has banned the StreetView program entirely and Germany insisted upon a system by which homeowners could opt out of the service (244,000 households did, by the way)…

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