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France Fines Google for Privacy Violations

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France hit Google with a record fine of 100,000 euros ($142,000) for collecting private information when it was creating its panoramic street views across the country.

Although Google began its Google Street View push in 2007, the search giant admitted in 2010 that the cars used to photograph streets had also captured information from unsecured Wi-Fi access in people's homes -- including passwords and e-mails.

CNIL, France's  National Commission for Information Freedom, said despite promises from Google to erase all the private data, it discovered "that Google has not refrained from using the data identifying Wi-Fi access points of individuals without their knowledge," the agency told Agence France Presse.

Google has apologized for "mistakenly" collecting the data in France and in this country and said it stopped collecting data in 2010.

Google has also faces much more opposition in general in Europe, including being hit with several antitrust suits which say the search engine has been giving search preference to itself and its services rather than other Internet-search providers. The European Commission, which investigates and makes antitrust decisions within the European Union, began an investigation last November. The complaints were first made last year from Ciao.de, a German subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., Foundem.co.uk and Ejustice.fr., according to the Wall Street Journal.

Related Topics Google, Street View, France, privacy, Wi-Fi
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