Spain Weighs $3.3M Fine For Street View Data Gaffe

    October 19, 2010

For better or for worse, the Spanish Agency for Data Protection isn’t ready to forgive Google for collecting sensitive WiFi data along with Street View photos.  Indeed, it’s moved its investigation forward in a big way, starting a process that might result in fines totaling $3.3 million.

Yesterday, the Spanish Agency for Data Protection (or AEPD for short, if you start with the Spanish version of its name) alerted a court in Madrid that Google allegedly committed five offenses in violation of the country’s privacy laws.

The maximum fines for each offense range between €300,000 and €600,000, and when tallied up, equal €2.4 million (or about $3.3 million).

GoogleThis is obviously meant to be more than a slap on the wrist, then.  Of course, from Google’s perspective, $3.3 million isn’t a massive amount, considering that the corporation had $33.4 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities as of September 30th.

Then one other possible silver lining is that AEPD’s just cracking down on Google’s collection of WiFi data, not Street View as a whole.

Still, if Spanish authorities are turning against Google to the point of hitting it with enormous fines, that’s not a great sign for the company’s international reputation.