France fines Google €100,000 over Street View privacy breach

21 Mar 2011

France’s data protection regulator has fined Google €100,000 after the search company accidentally collected private information through its Street View vehicles.

According to reports, The National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties in France (CNIL) decided on this record fine as it regarded this privacy breach as “unfair collection” of information under French law and that Google had received “economic advantages” from this.

Google came under fire last year, after it was discovered its Wi-Fi equipped Street View vehicles accidentally gathered unencrypted data from internet users while it travelled around the world capturing data for its panoramic mapping service. The data gathered included emails and passwords.

While Google deleted the data on request, the CNIL said Google “has not refrained from using the data identifying Wi-Fi access points of individuals without their knowledge.”

Google apologised again for the privacy violations.

Privacy worldwide

The collection of this data sparked investigations worldwide. The US called off its inquiry upon being reassured Google would address the issues that caused this privacy breach.

Spain filed a lawsuit about the breach and the UK said it would not investigate the matter further and ordered Google to erase the data.

In Ireland, the Data Protection Commission told Google to delete the Street View data on discovering the search giant had accidentally gathered unencrypted information.