France Slaps Google with Record Fine over Street View

Paul Lilly

Google's semi-controversial Street View technology is once again making headlines, this time because of a heavy-handed fine imposed by France's data privacy regulator. According to an AFP report , France fined Google 100,000 euros today, or about $142,000 in U.S. currency, for collecting private information. It's the biggest fine ever handed out by the National Commission for Information Freedom (CNIL) since the organization obtained the power to do so in 2004.

Europe has a history of opposing Google's Street View service, mostly because of privacy concerns. However, Google did admit in 2010 that camera-mounted cars taking photos were also capturing Wi-Fi signals and capturing unencrypted private data, like passwords and emails. None of this was intentional and the information was supposed to be destroyed, but according to CNIL, "Google has not refrained from using the data identifying Wi-Fi access points of individuals without their knowledge."

This played at least a partial role in France's decision to fine Google.

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