London Calling

Google Fined "Peanuts" For Data Protection Violation




German data regulators have slammed Google for what they say is one of the biggest known data protection violations in history. Big words but the fine they imposed on Google can only be described as peanuts.

The privacy invasion by the Internet giant centres on how the company harvested data during its German Street View operation. By trawling peoples domestic WiFi Google grabbed information on emails, private photographs and even passport details.

For this gross infringement Google was fined a miniscule $189, 000. For a company that had profits during the first three months of $3.35bn and has an executive chairman, that according to Forbes, has a net worth of  $8.2billion, this level of financial punishment must have raised some contented grins in the boardroom.

For the German regulators the fine was the maximum they could impose and they have already publicly stated that it’s a totally inadequate deterrent and are calling for heavier financial penalties for infringement of data privacy regulations.

It would in a logical world make sense to establish a legal procedure that imposed fines that were linked to the level of profits that a company makes. In this way penalties would be fairer to both small and large organisations.

Google has spent years collecting Street View images globally but in this case it maintains it never intended to store the personal data which had been captured between 2008 and 2010. So what actually happened during that two year period?

According to Google this was the unsanctioned action of an employee that was not authorised by senior management and the data has since been deleted.

So what do you think? Do you feel that your private data is safe from external intrusion, and are you happy that your surfing activities can be recorded and then used to target advertisements at you?

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