Spain moves to fine Google over Street View

Goggle may have to pay millions of dollars in fines as a result of its Wi-Fi snooping

The Spanish Data Protection Agency is preparing to fine Google over infractions against local data protection laws when it collected Wi-Fi data as part of its Street View service, it said in a statement on Monday.

Google can't seem to shake the European fallout after the company in May admitted to collecting information such as SSID (Service Set Identifier) and MAC (Media Access Control) addresses from unencrypted Wi-Fi routers.

The Spanish Data Protection Agency (Agencia Española de Protección de Datos) is looking to fine Google for up to five infractions, with two categorized as serious and three as very serious infractions of Spanish data protection laws, according to the statement. The categorization decides how large the fine can be, up to about €300,000 (US$417,000) for a serious infraction and up to twice that for an infraction categorized as very serious, the statement said.

The agency is now waiting for ongoing legal procedures directed at Google in Madrid to conclude before it moves forward, it said.

Google continues to be apologetic about the data collection. "As we have said before, we are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data in the Spain," a Google spokeswoman said via e-mail.

The company also reiterated that the collected data has never been used in any Google product and was never intended to be used by Google in any way, according to the e-mail. Whether that is enough to appease Spanish authorities remains to be seen.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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