Google's fleet of Street View cars, the vehicles the company uses to create its virtual mapping service, are being scrutinized by governments around the globe for violating privacy laws. Back in May, Germany realized the cars were scanning unsecured Wi-Fi networks and collecting private user data. South Korea was next, raiding Google headquarters in Seoul in August. Now, not to be outdone, Canada and Spain have raised a stink over privacy too.
Today, America's hat concluded its investigation, finding that Google did indeed violate privacy law. Google's Street View vehicles "inappropriately" collected personal information that included emails, email addresses, usernames, passwords, names, telephone numbers, street addresses--even very sensitive information such as medical records.
On Monday, Spain's Data Protection Agency said its preparing to fine Google over similar infractions. The agency said in a statement that the company's data collection falls into five categories of violations, and that the company could be penalized for two serious infractions and three very serious infractions. The fine could be as high as €300,000 (US$417,000) for a serious infraction, and double that if classified as a very serious infraction.