Google Fined by the French for Data Collection

Google Fined by the French for Data Collection

By Steve on March 31, 2011

A Google Street View Car

The big G (Google!) has been fined by the French National Commission for Computing and Liberties (CNIL) €100,000 after they collected data over unsecure WiFi hotspots without the knowledge of users while photographing the streets of France.

The data collected included email conversations and passwords, which Google has already stated was caused by a programme error on the software in their camera totting automobiles.

The CNIL stated the fine, which is the largest they have ever handed out was due to the fact the data was taken unfairly, and without the WiFi owner’s knowledge or consent. They have argued that this unlawfully gained data has given Google a dominant position in the field of location services. This puts a strong message out to the rest of Europe that France will not tolerate ‘digital’ theft and data protection authorities across other nations need to stand up and enforce the law.

Here at SEO Creative we always have our wireless network locked down, and the thought of an unsecured hotspot makes our knees quiver! Do you think it was right for Google to collect this data, and how could such a programming ‘bug’ have made it to ‘the streets’?!