German authorities said Monday they had fined Google for illegally collecting massive amounts of personal data including emails, passwords and photos while setting up its disputed Street View service. Johannes Caspar, the data protection office's Chief stated that in his opinion "this case constitutes one of the biggest known data protection violations in history."
The Hamburg authority's statement declared that "Among the information gathered in the drive-bys were significant amounts of personal data of varying quality. For example emails, passwords, photos and chat protocols were collected."
The data protection office in the northern city of Hamburg said it had imposed a 145,000-euro ($189,000) penalty on Google for privacy violations on what it called a nearly unprecedented scale.
Hamburg prosecutors had abandoned a criminal case against Google in November, when the data protection office picked it up as an administrative offence.
In the end, is a $189,000 fine of any consequence to a company like Google who likely earns that amount or more every minute of every day? The penalties should be based on a percentage of company's earnings in order to make any impact whatsoever. Governments are out of step with market realities. Annoyance fines are not a deterrent for fat cat companies and stinging public statements by any government official is easily forgotten five minutes after they're delivered.
About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.