FTC Gives Google a Pass on Street View Wi-Fi Sniffing

Ryan Whitwam

After a preliminary investigation the FTC has decided to give Google a pass on the inadvertent collection of Street View Wi-Fi data. According to Forbes, no penalties are being announced, but the FTC did have some harsh words for the search giant. "... Google’s internal review processes – both prior to the initiation of the project to collect data about wireless access points and after its launch – were not adequate to discover that the software would be collecting payload data, which was not necessary to fulfill the project’s business purpose," the FTC statement read.

The issues stem from the discovery earlier this year by Google that their Street View cars were outfitted with software that was not just recording the SSID and locations of Wi-Fi networks, but was actually storing unencrypted data from those networks. Google made the situation known, and multiple governments began investigating. Google claimed they software's presence was a mistake, and has since stopped Wi-Fi data collection altogether.

It looks like the FTC was satisfied with steps Google has taken, but they may not get a pass from all countries where the data was collected. Do you think Google should have been punished in some way?

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