16 Apr 2012
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Google fined for side-stepping FCC

By Ben Moore

The United States’ Federal Communications Commission has slapped Google with a fine for US$25,000 for refusing to co-operate with a probe into the collection of personal information over wireless networks that took place while the company was gathering street view data from 2007 to 2010.

It’s fair to say the fine won’t break the bank for Google, which reported cash of just under US$50 billion in an earnings report last week. However, the ruling won’t do the company’s public image any favours, coming on top of changes to the company’s privacy policy that had many questioning whether Google was forgetting its motto of ‘don’t be evil’.

The ruling reads, "For many months, Google deliberately impeded and delayed the Bureau’s investigation by failing to respond to requests for material information and to provide certifications and verifications of its responses.

"We find that Google apparently wilfully and repeatedly violated commission orders to produce certain information and documents that the commission required for its investigation.”

The FCC also draws attention to a subpoena which was delivered to a Google engineer, but who invoked his fifth amendment right not to testify on the grounds that he may incriminate himself.

Google has challenged the finding, saying the company provided all the materials regulators needed and denying that its employees were uncooperative. The company will be filing an official response soon. 

Do you think Google are getting too big for their boots, or are they just a ripe target for the authorities?

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