updated 10:41 am EST, Thu January 30, 2014
Korean regulator fines Google over 2010 Street View car Wi-Fi data harvesting
Google has received yet another fine over the Wi-Fi data collection by its fleet of Street View vehicles. The fine of 210 million won ($196,000) from the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) of South Korea is accompanied by an order for Google to delete any and all personal information the Street View cars received while it mapped and photographed roads in the country in 2009 and 2010.
Personal data collected by the cars is said to include usernames, passwords, residential registration numbers, and MAC addresses of network adapters, reports the Korea Herald. KCC chairman Lee Kyung-jae claimed the fine as "the first of its kind imposed on a global company that violated protection laws," continuing "The commission will punish those who collect information of the Korean public without exception." The communications regulator also requested for Google to track its progress of deleting the collected data on its website.
A statement from Google received by The Next Web states "We work hard to get privacy right at Google. As we have said before, we are sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted networks. Since we announced our mistake in 2010, we have worked closely with the KCC and tightened up our systems to address the issue. The project leaders never wanted this data, and didn't use it or even look at it."
Though relatively late after the incident, this is not the only time Google has received governmental reprimands over the Street View cars. Germany fined Google the maximum $189,000 last year, with French regulators imposing a similar $132,000 fine. In the United States, Google settled a lawsuit by paying $7 million in fines, destroying data, and launching an employee training program. In the United Kingdom, the company has seemingly avoided all fines, with the Information Commissioner's Office initially clearing Google in 2010, and after discovering it had accidentally kept some data, was ordered to delete the remainder or be held in contempt of court.