The US FCC was so cross when it discovered how the search engine Google worked to stuff up its investigation into how it used data gathered as part of the Street View project that it fined the company.
While this sounds good on paper, the FCC fined Google just $25,000 for its antics, which is roughly the cost of the up keep of the Google board’s grog bill.
Clearly that was not much of a fine for a company like Google to deal with. In fact Sergey Brin probably has more cash than that stuffed down the back of his sofa.
According to USA Today, Google responded that it worked in good faith to answer the FCC’s questions throughout the inquiry, and it was pleased that it worked out that the company complied with the law.
The FCC investigation decided that there was not enough evidence to suggest that Google had misused any data gathered during its Street View project.
Two years ago, Google admitted that its cars had captured the data, but said that it was done accidentally and that the company would delete the data and, in the future, not gather it.
The FCC first asked for information from Google in November 2010 and in August 2011 had to threaten subpoenas before the search engine took any notice.
According to the FCC, Google violated Commission orders by delaying its search for and production of responsive e-mails and other communications. It failied to identify employees, and did not confirm to the completeness and accuracy of its submissions.
The FCC moaned that the search engine’s level of cooperation with the investigation fell well short of what it expected. The main software engineer involved in the project pleaded the Fifth and did not want to testify in the process.
FCC Enforcement Bureau chief Michele Ellison said it was not clear why Google was being so unhelpful to its investigation.
When the FCC did get a look at the personal data collected en masse by Google cars driving streets across America, the available information did not prove a violation of the privacy provisions of communications laws.