A few weeks ago, the Federal Communications Commissions proposed a $25,000 fine on Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) because they claim the tech giant purposely delayed the ongoing investigation into whether Google’s Street View operations broke federal law. Now it is reported that Google will avoid the latter.
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According to a report from Bloomberg, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) filed papers with the government and they claimed that the government would not pursue the original case any further. Apparently last May, federal prosecutors decided to end the investigation but they still wanted to make Google pay up.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) admitted some blame on their behalf but they also said that they have always cooperated with federal investigations from all over the world. A letter from the company stated that although Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) disagrees with the “premise and factual recitals“, they will pay the forfeiture to close the case.
So what did Google do that was so bad? When they were mapping the street levels, they were also collecting wireless data from unencrypted wi-fi networks as they were snapping photographs of routes. They were trying to map the networks to help mobile users to access location based services. Data protection agencies in the United Kingdom and Germany knocked Google for collecting Wi-Fi data but neither charged them with a fine.
A spokesperson for the FCC told the AP that although the fine they are slapping on Google seems relatively minor, the company will still face a blemish for admitting they were wrong.
Google was in on the wrong this time and they know it. At least they admitted the wrong doing. Unfortunately, even good companies make bad mistakes. Utilizing technology for research has it is advantages and disadvantages, but that is no excuse to step on a sticky surface. I’m not going to defend Google’s poor business ethics but I hope they have learned from their mistakes.