FCC Weighs In on Google Privacy Case
Potential Impact: Members of Congress are concerned that Google received a mere slap on the wrist.
Next Steps: Google says that it disagrees with the characterization that it was uncooperative and will be filing a response with the FCC.
By Alexei Alexis
Members of Congress have raised concerns that the Federal Communications Commission did not go far enough in its recent decision against Google Inc., following an investigation into privacy concerns surrounding the firm's “Street View” mapping project.
While assessing a $25,000 fine against Google for “deliberately impeding” the probe, the FCC said it otherwise could find no grounds in the case for taking action against the company.
“I am troubled by the FCC's decision to decline enforcement in the Google Street View case, particularly considering the agency's conclusion that Google initially impeded the agency's attempts to conduct a full investigation,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said April 16 in an emailed statement.
Blumenthal said that Google's interception and collection of private wireless data potentially violates the Wiretap Act or other federal statutes. He said the matter should be “fully investigated” by the Justice Department and state attorneys general.
Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a co-chair of the bipartisan House Privacy Caucus, said the FCC fine represented a “mere slap on the wrist” for Google.
In a quietly published “apparent notice of liability,” the FCC said that Google “deliberately impeded and delayed” the agency's Street View investigation, launched in November 2010, by failing to provide requested documents. The company's alleged infractions included delaying its production of emails and other communications.
“Google's level of cooperation with this investigation fell well short of what we expect and require,” the commission said in the notice, which was dated April 13.
Ultimately, however, the agency said it could find no evidence that Google broke the law when it committed Street View data-collection missteps that sparked international outrage.
In 2010, it was revealed that Google intercepted individuals' private internet communications in the process of gathering data from Wi-Fi networks across the globe for the Street View mapping project. The incident prompted a flurry of investigations in the United States and other countries.
Google has apologized for the debacle, calling it an error.
The Federal Trade Commission dropped an investigation into the matter in October 2010, citing privacy commitments from Google.
The FCC notice is available at /uploadedfiles/BNA_V2/Images/From_BNA_V1/News/CYBER-The-Cybersecurity-Act-of-2012-final1(1).pdf
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)