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Fcc Report on Googles Street View

Fcc Report on Googles Street View

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Published by gesterling
FCC report on Google "Wi-Spy" episode
FCC report on Google "Wi-Spy" episode

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Published by: gesterling on Apr 30, 2012
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FederalCommunicationsCommissionDA12-592BeforetheFederalCommunicationsCommissionWashington,D.C.20554
In
theMatterofFileNo.:EB-lO-lli-4055GoogleInc.
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NAL/Acct.No.:201232080020F~s:0010119691,0014720239NOTICEOFAPPARENTLIABILITYFORFORFEITUREAdopted:April13,2012Released:April13,2012BytheChief,EnforcementBureau:I.INTRODUCTION1.BetweenMay2007andMay2010,aspartofitsStreetViewproject,GoogleInc.(GoogleorCompany)collecteddatafromWi-FinetworksthroughouttheUnitedStatesandaroundtheworld.'ThepurposeofGoogle'sWi-FidatacollectioninitiativewastocaptureinformationaboutWi-FinetworksthattheCompanycouldusetohelpestablishusers'locationsandprovidelocation-basedservices.ButGooglealsocollected"payload"data-thecontentofInternetcommunications=-thatwasnotneededforitslocationdatabaseproject.Thispayloaddataincludede-mailandtextmessages,passwords,Internetusagehistory,andotherhighlysensitivepersonalinformation.2.WhenEuropeandataprotectionauthoritiesinvestigatedGoogle'sWi-Fidatacollectioneffortsin2010,theCompanyinitiallydeniedcollectingpayloaddata.'OnMay14,2010,however,Googlepubliclyacknowledgedthatithadbeen"collectingsamplesofpayloaddatafromopen
(i.
e.,
non-password-protected)WiFinetworks"butstatedthat
it
likelycollectedonlyfragmenteddata.'Googletracedthecollectionofpayloaddatatocodethatwas"mistakenly"includedinitsWi-Fidatacollectionsoftware,"OnOctober22,2010,Googleacknowledgedforthefirsttimethat"insomeinstancesentire
!
Googleisaworldleaderindigitalsearchcapability.
See,e.g.,
GoogleInc.,RegistrationStatement(FormSol),at1(Apr.29,2004),
availableat
http://www.buec.udel.edulpollacks/Acct351lhandouts/SEC%20Form%20S-1%20filed%20by%20Google.pdf.
2
See
PostingofPeterFleischertoGoogleEuropeanPublicPolicyB10g,http://googlepolicyeurope.blogspot.comi2010104/data-collected-by-google-cars.html(Apr.27,2010,1:01p.m.)(Apr.27GoogleBlogPost)("[W]edonotcollectanyinformationabouthouseholders,[and]wecannotidentifyanindividualfromthelocationdataGooglecollectsviaitsStreetViewcars.").
3
PostingofAlanEustacetoTheOfficialGoogleBlog,http://googleblog.blogspot.coml2010/05/wifi-data-collection-update.html(May14,2010,4:44p.m.)(May14GoogleBlogPost).
4
UpdatedPostingofAlanEustacetoTheOfficialGoogleBlog,http://googleblog.blogspot.coml2010/05/wifi-data-collection-update.html(June9,2010)(June9GoogleBlogPost);
accord
PostingofBrianMcClendontoGoogleEuropeanPublicPolicyBlog,http://googlepolicyeurope.blogspot.coml20
10/07
Istreet-view-driving-update.html(July9,2010,6:04a.m.)(July9GoogleBlogPost);May14GoogleBlogPost("Quitesimply,itwasamistake.").
 
FederalCommunicationsCommissionDA12-592
emailsandURLswerecaptured,aswellaspasswords."Andfinally,asdescribedbelow,theCompanyprovidedevidencetotheFederalCommunicationsCommission(Commission)showingthatthedatacollectionresultedfromadeliberatesoftware-designdecisionbyoneoftheGoogleemployeesworkingontheStreetViewproject."3.UponlearningthatGooglehadcollectedpayloaddata,theCommissionbeganexaminingwhetherGoogle'sconductviolatedprovisionsoftheCommunicationsActof1934,asamended(CommunicationsActorAct).'Basedonthatinitialreview,inNovember2010theCommission'sEnforcementBureau(Bureau)issuedaLetterofInquiry(LO!)thatlaunchedanofficialinvestigationintowhetherGoogle's
data
collectionpracticesviolatedSection705(a)ofthe
Act."
TherecorddevelopedinthisinvestigationincludesGoogle'swrittenresponsestoquestionsfromtheBureau,copiesofrelevantdocuments,andpubliclyavailableinformation.Inaddition,Bureaustaffinterviewedsixindividuals-fiveGoogleemployeesandanemployeeofStrozFriedberg,aconsultingfirmGoogleretainedtoconductforensicanalysisofitsWi-Fidatacollectionsoftwarecode.TheBureaualsoissuedasubpoenatotakethedepositionoftheGoogleengineer(EngineerDoe)whodevelopedthesoftwarecodethatGoogleusedtocollectandstorepayload
data,"
Throughcounsel,however,EngineerDoeinvokedhisFifthAmendmentrightagainstself-incriminationanddeclinedtotestify.4.Formanymonths,GoogledeliberatelyimpededanddelayedtheBureau'sinvestigationbyfailingtorespondtorequestsformaterialinformationandtoprovidecertificationsandverificationsofitsresponses.
In
thisNoticeofApparentLiabilityforForfeiture(NAL),wefindthatGoogleapparentlywillfullyandrepeatedlyviolatedCommissionorderstoproducecertaininformationanddocumentsthattheCommissionrequiredforitsinvestigation.Basedonourreviewofthefactsandcircumstancesbeforeus,wefindthatGoogle,whichholdsCommissionlicenses,'?isapparentlyliableforaforfeiturepenaltyof$25,000foritsnoncompliancewithBureauinformationanddocumentrequests.5.Atthesametime,basedonacarefulreviewoftheexistingrecordandapplicablelaw,theBureauwillnottakeenforcementactionunderSection705(a)againsttheCompanyforitscollectionofpayloaddata.ThereisnotclearprecedentforapplyingSection705(a)oftheCommunicationsActtotheWi-Ficommunicationsatissuehere.Moreover,becauseEngineerDoepermissiblyassertedhisconstitutionalrightnottotestify,significantfactualquestionsbearingontheapplicationofSection705(a)totheStreetViewprojectcannotbeansweredontherecordofthisinvestigation.
5
PostingofAlanEustacetoTheOfficialGoogleBlog,http://googleblog.blogspot.comJ2010/10/creating-stronger-privacy-controls.html#!l20l0/l0/creating-stronger-privacy-controls.html(Oct.22,2010,3:00p.m.)(Oct.22GoogleBlogPost)."URL"isanacronymforUniformResourceLocator,whichmeansanInternetaddress.
6
Seeinfra
paras.22-23.
,
47U.S.C.§151
etseq.
8
47U.S.C.§605(a);LetterfromP.MicheleEllison,Chief,FCCEnforcementBureau,toGoogleInc.(Nov.3,2010)(onfileinEB-IO-llI-4055).
9
ThroughoutthisNoticeofApparentLiability,weusealiasesorredactthenamesofGoogleemployees
to
protecttheirprivacy.
10
Googlepresentlyholdsfiveactivelandmobileradiolicenses(WQAK992,WQEN482,WQFX929,WQIR860,andWQIT645);oneexperimentallicense(WF2XYY);andthreeexperimentalSpecialTemporaryAuthorizations(WE9XTW,WF9XKU,andWF9XLG).Inaddition,GoogleFiber,Inc.holdstwosatelliteearthstationlicenses(EII0145andEI10180),andoneexperimentalSpecialTemporaryAuthorization(WF9XLK).
2
 
FederalCommunicationsCommissionDA12-592
n.
BACKGROUNDA.TheWiretapAct6.Section705(a)oftheActgovernsunauthorizedpublicationoruseofcommunications.ThefirstsentenceofSection705(a)prohibitscertainconduct"[e]xceptasauthorizedbychapter119,title18.,,11"Chapter119,title18"isareferencetotheWiretapAct,12whichgoverns,amongotherthings,theinterceptionofelectroniccommunications.ThenexttwosentencesofSection705(a)-theprovisionsatissueinthisinvestigation-stateasfollows:Nopersonnotbeingauthorizedbythesendershallinterceptanyradiocommunicationanddivulgeorpublishtheexistence,contents,substance,purport,effect,ormeaningofsuchinterceptedcommunicationtoanyperson.Nopersonnotbeingentitledtheretoshallreceiveorassistinreceivinganyinterstateorforeigncommunicationbyradioandusesuchcommunication(oranyinformationthereincontained)forhisownbenefitorforthebenefitofanothernotentitledthereto.13CongressamendedSection705(a)tocross-referencetheWiretapActwhenitenactedtheWiretapActaspartoftheOmnibusCrimeControlandSafeStreetsActof1968.14AlthoughCongressincorporatedtheWiretapActprovisoasanintroductoryclausetoonlythefirstsentenceofSection705(a),courtsaddressingtheissuehavedeterminedthattheprovisoappliesequallytoallpartsofSection705(a).15Inotherwords,caselawsupportsthatconductauthorizedbytheWiretapActisexemptfromSection705(a)'sprohibitionsontheunauthorizedinterceptionandpublicationofradiocommunicationsandtheunauthorizedreceptionanduseofinterstateradiocommunications.B.HowWi-FiNetworksOperate7.Wi-Fiisamechanismforwirelesslyconnectingelectronicdevices.Wi-Finetworksenabledevicessuchaslaptopcomputers,tablets,videogameconsoles,andsmartphonestoconnecttotheInternetandeachotherthroughawirelessnetworkaccesspoint.l''Inatypicalhomeconfiguration,thewirelessaccesspointisawirelessrouterconnectedtotheInternetviacoaxialcable,fiber,orDSL.17Tofacilitatecommunicationwithotherelectronicdevices,wirelessaccesspointstransmitabeaconthat
11
47U.S.C.§605(a).
12
18U.S.C.§§2510-2522.
13
47U.S.C.§605(a).
14
See
Pub.L.No.90-351,82Stat.197(codifiedat18U.S.C.§§2510-2522andscatteredsectionsof18U.S.C.).
15
SeeEdwards
v.
StateFarmIns.Co.,
833F.2d535,540(5thCir.1987);
UnitedStates
v.
'Rose,
669F.2d23,26-27(1stCir.1982);
UnitedStates
v.
Gass,
936F.Supp.810,812(N.D.Okla.1996).
16
See
Wi-FiAlliance,DiscoverandLearn,http://www.wi-fi.org/discover_and_1earn.php(lastvisitedApr.9,2012).
17
See
Wi-FiAlliance,SimpleHomeNetwork,http://www.wi-fi.orglsimple_home_networkphp(lastvisitedApr.9,2012).Wi-Finetworkstypicallyhavearangeofseveralhundredfeet,butperformancevariesdependingonobstructionsandinterferencefromothersources.
See
Wi-FiAlliance,FAQs:WhatIstheRangeofaWi-FiNetwork?,http://www.wi-fi.orglknowledge-center/faq/what-range-wi-fi-network(lastvisitedApr.9,2012).
3

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