Do you remember earlier this week when the Federal Communications Commission issued a $25,000 fine to Google? You know, because of the unauthorized collection of personal information Google obtained from unsecured wi-fi networks while the Google Street View car was cruising around taking photos for Google Maps? If you do, good on you - you're olfactory senses are keen to the smell of rotten. However, you would be forgiven for not remembering because the risible amount of the fine was hardly of note. In Google terms of money, it was less a fine and more like losing a few quarters to the cushioned trenches of the living room couch.
Worse, the investigation was dropped by the FCC. And the fine wasn't because Google was eavesdropping on unsecured wi-fi networks, either - it was because of Google's obstinate lack of cooperation with the FCC's investigation.
While consumer advocacy groups have decried the FCC for taking a knee on Google's wi-fi spying, the scandal officially debuted in the mainstream this past Wednesday when The Daily Show's Jon Stewart assailed the government agency for producing a yawn in place of its Google investigation.
Stewart repeatedly expressed his trademark derision-enshrouded-in-sarcasm at the FCC for letting Google essentially get away with spying on people. Mocking the amount that Google was fined, Stewart described the fine as "less than what you would get for a particularly flashy NFL touchdown dance."
Stewart's final three words, delivered in such a way that was meant to clearly entertain, impute a bracing gravity of the entire situation when it comes to the government's lack of interest or understanding in actually penalizing Google in a meaningful way: "We're completely f---ed."
The full video is below.
Of course, some have suggested that the FCC's fine could step up the expected fines Google could receive from the Federal Trade Commission due to the company's circumvention of the privacy settings of Safari users. Then again, The FCC's lax punishment to Google could also swing the other way by setting the precedent of going easy on the search engine goliath when they don't play by the rules.