French Regulators Want More Information From Google

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2012-05-25 Print this article Print

€œFinally, Google has not provided a practical answer on the way the ePrivacy Directive is applied for Google's 'passive users,' i.e., the persons who use Google's services [advertising, analytics, +1 button] when they visit third-party Websites,€ CNIL officials said.

Once the organization has Google€™s new answers, it will present a report to the EU€™s Article 29 Working Party, which will decide how Google can bring the new policy into compliance. Google will get the determination by mid-July, the CNIL said.


The CNIL€™s letter about Google and its privacy policy comes less than a month after issues surrounding the search vendor€™s controversial Street View program flared up again in the United States. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on April 13 fined Google $25,000 for intentionally obstructing an investigation into the company€™s collecting of personal data from WiFi networks while conducting its Street View project between 2007 and 2010.

The FCC said in its report that it could not find any evidence of legal wrongdoing on the part of Google, in part because the company €œdeliberately impeded and delayed€ the commission€™s investigation by refusing to provide information and documents requested as part of the investigation. In addition, an unnamed Google engineer who created the software that collected the WiFi data did not testify at a deposition, instead invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Google executives disputed the FCC€™s claim, saying they €œprovided all the materials the regulators felt they needed to conclude their investigation, and we were not found to have violated any laws."

Google had claimed the collection of the personal WiFi data€”including passwords, emails and search histories€”was the work of a rogue engineer. But soon after the FCC fine, it was learned that the engineer, Marius Milner, had told at least two other Google employees that such €œpayload data€ was being collected.

The revelation renewed calls by privacy advocates and some politicians in both the United States and Europe to reopen the investigations into Google€™s Street View program.


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