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Google escapes criminal probe in German Street View case

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Google HQ street view
Google HQ street view

Bloomberg reports that German prosecutors will no longer pursue a criminal probe in the Google Street View Wi-Fi data slurping scandal. The public prosecutors office in Hamburg launched an investigation in 2010 after it was discovered that Google was collecting data from open Wi-Fi access points using its Street View vehicles. A privacy complaint was filed by a lawyer local to the area at the time, but sources familiar with the investigation speaking to Bloomberg say that prosecutors failed to find "criminal violations."

Google may have avoided judgement in Germany, but the company hasn't had much luck in other countries across the world. France slapped the search giant with a €100,000 fine in 2011, and the FCC issued its own $25,000 penalty in April following the completion of its own investigation. The Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK has also reopened its inquiry following allegations that Google "pre prepared" the information it handed over to authorities. Depending on the outcome, Google could be fined up to £500,000.