Google fined by FCC over Street View investigation

Google has been fined $25,000 by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC’s report on the fine states that Google obstructed the agency’s investigation into the methods employed by the search giant to collect and store data, noting that requests for information were repeatedly ignored. In addition, an engineer subpoenaed by the FCC asserted his Fifth Amendment right to decline to testify.

The FCC will take no further action at this time.

The investigation targeted in particular Google’s Street View feature, which offers interactive, ground-level, 360-degree photographic panoramas in select locations, typically public roadways.

Google quickly issued a statement disputing the FCC’s complaint that the company had actively resisted the investigation and affirming that, according to the FCC’s own report, they had not committed any wrongdoing. An additional, formal response is forthcoming.

The Associated Press report, via The Washington Post, can be found here.

It is important to note that this fine does not imply that the FCC has reached any conclusions about Google’s practices as such; indeed, the FCC has admitted that “significant factual questions” remain to be answered. Rather, the problem seems to stem from a procedural dispute. The AP report does not specify what recourse Google has with respect to the fine, but given its increasingly frequent encounters with regulatory and legislative authorities, it will be interesting to see how it responds to the FCC’s allegations.

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