Google and FCC blasted by privacy watchdogs despite $25k fine

Google may have been fined by the FCC for its behavior around the Street View investigation, but privacy watchdogs are still foaming at the mouth that the search giant has been let off the hook for gathering WiFi details. The US Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has taken the FCC to tasks for what it sees as a "surprising" decision to clear Google of violating the federal wiretap act, despite a US federal court ruling otherwise.

"Many countries around the world have found Google guilty of violating national privacy laws" EPIC wrote in a statement today. "Surprisingly, the FCC said that Google had not violated the federal wiretap act, even though a federal court recently held otherwise."

The $25,000 fine leveled by the FCC was over Google's apparent obstruction of the investigation. The search giant "deliberately impeded and delayed" the FCC's case, by "delaying its search for and production of responsive emails and other communications, by failing to identify employees, and by withholding verification of the completeness and accuracy of its submissions."

Google's attitude toward privacy seems somewhat ironic, given co-founder Sergey Brin's recent critique of Facebook, Apple and others where he accused them of threatening web freedom. After it was revealed that the Street View cars had been gathering WiFi account details during their photographic missions, Google said it had been "mortified" by what happened.