23 Apr 2013

Google fined over wi-fi data harvest

A German data watchdog has slapped US internet giant Google with a €150,000 fine after finding that the search engine company captured and recorded information from unsecure wi-fi networks.

WiFi: privacy problems for Google

According to a BBC report, Google said it had unintentionally collected the data which included emails, passwords and photos.
The German regulator went on to state that the fine was ‘totally inadequate’ as a deterrent, but European rules cap the maximum fine for an accidental violation at €150,000.

Unauthorised action

In a statement, the regulators said: ‘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.’
Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman violation was the result of actions by ‘a single individual that were not authorised by the executives.’
He added that the company takes privacy issues seriously, and disclosed its errors immediately.