Google's Privacy Headaches Increase in Europe

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Six Privacy Principles Google Forgot


Remember last month when news broke that German privacy regulators were upset that Google was collecting information about the location of wireless routers in preparing to roll out its Street View service by the end of the year? And then when the company admitted its camera cars had inadvertently intercepted private data from unsecured wireless networks in people's homes?


Though Google CEO Eric Schmidt tried to pass the incident off with a simple "no harm, no foul," according to Financial TImes, German officials and other privacy regulators in Europe were not so easily appeased. Germany is considering whether there is reasonable cause to launch a full investigation into the incident, given that the unauthorized collection of data in that country is a crime punishable by a fine or a maximum of two years in prison.


Data protection officials in the Czech Republic upped the stakes Tuesday by opening their own investigation into the matter. If a violation is found, the story says it could result in a fine of up to $482,000.


Schmidt indicated the company alerted data privacy regulators in the countries where Street View is available upon learning that the "rogue data" had been collected because such collection was against company policy.


But a storm is brewing in this country over Google's Wi-Fi sniffing.