The information, which is defined as ‘Payload data‘, includes Email caches, browser histories and online passwords. Google’s Street View cars captured the information whilst driving through towns and cities taking photographs for the company’s ground breaking Maps project.
In the report, which redacts only the names of implicated individuals, the FCC state that as there is no legal precedent on the matter, Google did not formally contravene any privacy laws. However, the company was ordered to pay $25,000 as it “deliberately impeded and delayed the investigation”. Specifically, the fine was enforced as Google ignored requests from the FCC to identify engineers and submit certain emails relating to the data scoops, in the early stages of the inquiry.
Google neither accessed nor used the information it collected. However, according to the FCC’s report, some senior project managers knew about the plan to conduct data grabs in 2006, before the project entered the production stage.