The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica

The Federal Communications Commission announced Friday it is slapping a fine on Google for deliberately impeding an investigation into the collection of sensitive wireless network data as part of the search giant’s Street View mapping project. The amount of the fine: $25,000.

That figure is, of course, barely a rounding error for the company. Google made $2.89 billion last quarter, or $25,000 in profits every 68 seconds.

Nevertheless, the FCC Enforcement Bureau report announcing the fine says that the $25,000 level is designed “to deter future misconduct in view of Google’s ability to pay.”

The FCC found that Google Street View cars — which were taking pictures for Google Maps — also collected passwords, emails, and medical records, among other data from residents’ WiFi networks. Google has apologized for collecting the data but maintains it was legal.

The report states that the FCC actually ramped up the fine. The base fine for the violations was $12,000.

The report notes that the Commission has elected to increase fines “[t]o ensure that a proposed forfeiture is not treated as simply a cost of doing business.”

In the section discussing the size of the fine, a footnote points to Google’s vast revenues:

The FCC could have levied a larger fine, but it still wouldn’t have amounted to much for Google. As the report says, the maximum by allowed by law for stonewalling the FCC’s investigation as Google did is $112,500 per violation.

The report counts three violations by Google: “failures to identify employees, produce e-mails, and provide compliant declarations.” So the total fine could have been $337,500, or about 15 minutes of profits.

The report said the FCC decided on a fine of just $25,000 based on “the totality of the circumstances of this case” and “our precedent in other failure to respond cases.”

An FCC spokeswoman declined to comment to us on how the fine was calculated or how it would serve as a deterrent.

The company, for its part, disputed the FCC’s findings in a statement: “We disagree with the FCC’s characterization of our cooperation in their investigation and will be filing a response.”

Google will have recouped the fine in less than the time it took you to read this.

 

 

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Herschel Walker

Youtube Screenshot

Herschel Walker is now suggesting the souls of Georgians are in the balance, and if they don’t elect him to the U.S Senate they will not even “have a chance to be redeemed,” a Christian religious belief about being delivered from sin by God. Walker is also suggesting his right-wing son, who turned against him this week after reports he paid for an abortion, is a member of “the left.”

Keep reading... Show less

Rep. Mike Erickson

The Daily Beast reported on Monday that in 2009, Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker allegedly paid for a woman he got pregnant to have an abortion.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}