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Summary:

Repercussions of the 2010 privacy scandal are still being felt, albeit in a typically ineffectual way.

Google Street View car
photo: Flickr / Sancho McCann

Google’s collection of passwords and other bits of data from people’s Wi-Fi routers is an issue that, it seems, just won’t die. The drama may now be a few years in the past, but South Korea has only this week fined the company over it.

According to the Korea Herald, the country’s communication regulator has hit Google with a $196,000 fine, or 0.0003 percent of the ad company’s annual revenues (based on Google’s Q3 2013 results). This follows similarly ineffectual fines levied over the Wi-Fi snooping by regulators in Germany ($189,000) and France ($142,000).

In America, Google did have to pay a slightly more sizable $7 million to settle a multi-state lawsuit over the snafu last year, however.

The controversy relates to the company’s Street View vehicles, which had been mapping Wi-Fi networks as well as photographing streets, in order to improve the speed and accuracy of Google’s location services.

This was enough to alarm some privacy-minded people, particularly as Google wasn’t upfront about what it was doing, but it also turned out that the vehicles’ on-board systems were scooping up fragments of data that were passing over people’s Wi-Fi access points. The company blamed this on rogue code in its software.

  1. Oh that? That was uh… That was just the “rogue code”.

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