Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been fined €145,000 (around $189,000) by a German privacy regulator on Monday for its illegal collection of personal data during the creation of its Street View mapping service.
The country’s data chief Johannes Casper called it “one of the biggest known data protection violations in history”, which the search giant explained as an unintentional collection of data including emails, passwords and photos.
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Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) claimed that it never intended to keep user’s personal data collected back in 2008- 2010 when the company was in the midst of creating its Street View Service.
“As long as violations of data protection law are penalized with such insignificant sums, the ability of existing laws to protect personal privacy in the digital world, with its high potential for abuse, is barely possible,” Mr. Caspar said.
Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt said that the violation came from “the actions of a single individual that were not authorised by the executives”.
The German data protection supervisor said the fine was woefully inadequate to stop the data practices of corporations as large as Google. The financial handslap makes only about 0.005 percent of the search giant’s annual profits.
According to Bloomberg, regulators couldn’t find any criminal violations for the illegal data collection, and German law has a maximum ceiling of 150,000 Euros for privacy negligence.
Peter Fleischer, the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) global privacy counsel, said Google had taken internal steps to make sure the violations were not repeated.
“We work hard to get privacy right at Google,” Mr. Fleischer said in a statement. “But in this case we didn’t, which is why we quickly tightened up our systems to address the issue.”
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) decided not to appeal the fine levied by the country.