Washington, DC, United States (ProPublica) - by Justin Elliott
The Federal Communications Commission announced Friday it is slapping a fine on Google for deliberately impeding an investigation into the collection of sensitive wireless network data as part of the search giant's Street View mapping project. The amount of the fine: $25,000.
That figure is, of course, barely a rounding error for the company. Google made $2.89 billion last quarter, or $25,000 in profits every 68 seconds.
Nevertheless, the FCC Enforcement Bureau report announcing the fine says that the $25,000 level is designed "to deter future misconduct in view of Google's ability to pay."
The FCC found that Google Street View cars -- which were taking pictures for Google Maps -- also collected passwords, emails, and medical records, among other data from residents' WiFi networks. Google has apologized for collecting the data but maintains it was legal.
The report states that the FCC actually ramped up the fine. The base fine for the violations was $12,000.
The report notes that the Commission has elected to increase fines "o ensure that a proposed forfeiture is not treated as simply a cost of doing business."
In the section discussing the size of the fine, a footnote points to Google's vast revenues:
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