FCC to fine Google just $25,000 for blocking investigation

An investigation into Google storing data from non-password protected WiFi networks by the Federal Communications Commission has resulted in the FCC recommending a tiny $25,000 fine be levied at Google. The Wall Street Journal reports that the FCC released its statement on their investigation and the small fine's amount late on Friday.

The FCC was looking into Google detecting and storing data from public and unlocked WiFi networks for use in its Street View feature in Google Maps. The investigation itself started in 2010. The FCC was trying to determine if Google was in violation of the government's rules against electronic eavesdropping. In the end, the FCC had concluded that there was not enough evidence to go after Google under those government regulations.

However, the FCC did say that during their investigation, Google "deliberately impeded and delayed" the agency's probe into the company's affairs. The basis for that comes from an unnamed Google engineer who worked on Street View. He invoked his Fifth Amendments rights and refused to testify to the FCC.

In a statement, Google said, "We worked in good faith to answer the FCC's questions throughout the inquiry, and we are pleased that they have concluded that we complied with the law."

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18 Comments

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A person asserting 5th amendment right == Fine?

Sounds like total crap to me even if it is a tiny slap on the wrist that isn't worth the 25k in legal expense for Google to even appeal, though if I had their resources I would appeal the fine just on principal. If the FCC had any real evidence (after spending over 2.5million investigating) of a violation they wouldn't be throwing this **** ant fine at them and pointing to some employee's 5th amendment invocation as justification, as if the invocation was something he not was entitled to. Smart move on his part to avoid\limit his involvement in the investigation.

Don't mistake this comment as support for what Google was doing, however legal or lot it may have been, the point is you have government entity fining a company over an employee invocation of their 5th amendment rights, a precedent US cititizens should not want to see set.


Google "deliberately impeded and delayed" = Google did away with the evidence and made that engineer not talk... Sad Google Sad... That is how I am interpreting this.

Should've been fined at least 100 times that!

How about anyone of you above try to do this, "deliberately impeded and delayed" an investigation and see what happens to you! That employee was employed by Google and worked on the project in question. He was Googles responsibility.

Yeah,
Glad I never went Google ape s**t also. Google IS NOT the greatest thing since the invention of the internet!!

Athlonite said,
if you've nothing to hide why plead the 5th if everything is clean and above board say so

good on the FCC

No such thing as 'tell them if you have nothing to hide' unfortunately. The reality is if someone wants you to be found guilty, they will twist anything you say no matter how innocuous to achieve their agenda. Interviews are not designed to find the actual facts in the case, they are designed to get a confession or anything incriminating information they find even if your intention is to clear your name, it is not their intention, and makes it hard for yourself in the long run.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

And it's the same in all Countries- Common law, Civil Law and even Sharia law.

They were not found guilty so they fined them anyway? Seems like they had a pretty flimsy case if they were "blocked" just by employees exercising their rights. They must have expected that they would find a Google employee who is stupid enough to talk to them so they could twist something they say and form a case off that. Not even the janitor was this stupid.

I don't see why they even got fined $25,000. They complied fully, and the basis for the fine was against someone who invoked the fifth amendment. All of that is allowed and above board, so why the fine?

Cue Google hate in 3 .. 2 .. 1 ..

The EMPLOYEE not the company is at fault here, but go a head and blame Google for not actually doing anything wrong

z0phi3l said,
Cue Google hate in 3 .. 2 .. 1 ..

The EMPLOYEE not the company is at fault here, but go a head and blame Google for not actually doing anything wrong

Not the first time the've done this.