AFP reports France's data privacy regulator has fined Google 100,000EUR for collecting private information while gathering photos for its Street View service. CNIL, the National Commission for Information Freedom, explains it fined Google because the company gained unfair economic benefits by inadvertently capturing unencrypted private data including passwords and e-mails by picking up WiFi data via its Street View cars. Google's lawyer for privacy issues, Peter Fleischer, responds that the search giant is profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected data from unencrypted wireless networks.
In addition to concerns about the photos taken, Google admitted in 2010 that its specially equipped cars taking the photographs were also picking up Wi-Fi data and had inadvertently captured unencrypted private data including passwords and e-mails.
CNIL, the National Commission for Information Freedom, said Google had pledged to erase all the private data, but that it had found "that Google has not refrained from using the data identifying Wi-Fi access points of individuals without their knowledge."
The regulator said it decided to impose the fine as this constituted "unfair collection" of information under French law and it had received economic benefits from the data.