The Federal Communications Commission in its investigation of whether Google’s Street View cars illegally collected personal data from WiFi networks, has reached a decision that seems like a mix of good news and bad news for the search comapny.
First the good news “FCC did not fine Google for violating electronic eavesdropping laws. Instead, it concluded that there was no precedent for the commissions’ enforcement of the law in connection with WiFi networks.”
The FCC also noted that, according to the available evidence, Google only collected data from unecrypted WiFi networks, not encrypted ones, and that it never accessed or used the data.
And, the bad news, FCC is proposing to fine Google $25,000 because it “deliberately impeded and delayed the investigation.” Specifically, FCC says that for several months, Google didn’t provide emails that the FCC requested or identify the engineer who authorized the data collection. “Google’s level of cooperation with this investigation fell well short of what we expect and require,” the commissions said.
Google can appeal the fine before it becomes final.
A company spokesperson said, “We worked in good faith to answer the FCC’s questions throughout the inquiry, and we’re pleased that they have concluded that we complied with the law.”
You can read the full FCC decision below:
In other, Google legal news, in 2005, when Google launched Gmail in Germany, it was barred from using the name “Gmail” in the country, because the German entrepreneur Daniel Giersch in 2000, had registered the ‘G-mail’ trademark (short for Giersch mail) for his physical and electronic mail service in Germany.
As a results, German users who wanted to use Gmail had to go to googlemail.com.
Google tried to appeal this decision, but ran out of legal options in 2007, after Europe’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market rejected its appeal. But last week Google quietly “settled its dispute with Giersch, and the gmail.de domain and the Gmail trademark were transferred to Google on April 13,” informs GoogleWatchBlog.
Neither Google nor Giersch have commented the terms of the deal. Howerver, in 2006, Giersch claimed that Google had offered him $250,000 for the German trademark rights to the Gmail name.
Also, it’s not clear if Google will now change the official address of its email service in Germany to Gmail.de, or the user continue using @googlemail.com.
Howerve, in a similar trademark dispute in England, Google quickly made this switch and offered users the option to change their existing email addresses from @googlemail.com to @gmail.com.