Germany Can’t Pin Google Down
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been freed of the charges against it in Germany for its Street View program after prosecutors failed to find criminal violations. The public prosecutor’s office in Hamburg had launched an investigation in 2010 after discovering that Google was collecting data from open Wi-Fi access points using its Street View cars. However, no suspects were identified, Bloomberg said.
Google has been under fire across several countries for its program, which uses automated car to take photographs of streets, businesses, and residences. The company admitted that along with public street data, its cars also snooped on network names, unique routers identifying numbers, website traffic logs, texts of email messages, and usernames and passwords over years.
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Last year, France fined the search company 100,000 euro, while the Norway data watchdog imposed a 250,000 kroner penalty. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission also imposed a $25,000 fine on the search company in April, while the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office has reopened investigations after finding out that Google allegedly “pre-prepared” the information it gave to the authorities.
Johannes Caspar, the data-protection commissioner of Hamburg who also looked into the allegations, said that if prosecutors dropped the criminal probe, his office was likely to restart its administrative investigation.
On Thursday, days after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) dropped the Google Maps app from iOS, the search company announced its biggest ever update to Street View data, adding 250,000 miles of roads.