Google Engineer Scooped Up Personal Data from Wireless Users While Driving Street View Vehicle
A Google Inc. engineer drove around collecting personal information from wireless users with specially equipped cars for two years after explaining his plans to fellow engineers and at least one senior manager involved with the project in 2008.
According to a Federal Communications Commission investigation, the engineer, whose name has not been disclosed, worked alone to gather personal data including the contents of some emails and web addresses of sites users visited.
The FCC report states that Street View managers told the agency that they did not learn the Google cars were collecting the personal information until 2010. The scooping, which was conceived by a single engineer, has fueled government scrutiny of its privacy safeguards, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Google released a nearly complete version of the report after the FCC concluded that Google didn’t violate a U.S. law against wiretapping but said it obstructed the probe and must therefore pay $25,000.