Posted in War on Privacy

France fines Google over Wi-Spy scandal

Good news:

Google must pay a fine of €100,000 (US$142,000) for the unauthorized collection of information about the location of Wi-Fi hotspots in France by its Street View cars, France’s National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL) has ordered.

The cars, tasked with taking panoramic photos and 3D scans of buildings, and associating them with precise GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates for Google’s Street View service, also eavesdropped on Wi-Fi networks, recording their SSIDs (Service Set Identifiers) and MAC (Media Access Control) addresses, Google said last April, following an investigation by the data protection authority in Hamburg, Germany.

For too long now, the Monster of Mountain View and other big companies have faced no consequences or repercussions for their infringement of users’ privacy. Even people who don’t want to use Google products or services must take extra steps to prevent data about their activities from being collected by Google. That’s wrong. People shouldn’t have to spend hours figuring out how to “opt-out” of Google’s surveillance net. Surveillance should be prohibited without the explicit consent of the user.