The company claimed it had mostly collected data fragments, but an investigation in France said Google's data snooping cache did include whole passwords and entire e-mail messages. In early 2011, Google was fined about $142,000 by the French government over Street View's Wi-Fi data collection, and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission followed suit in April, slapping the search giant with a $25,000 fine. The FCC also determined that Google's Wi-Fi data collection was not illegal, disappointing privacy advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center. The FCC said Google's actions were not illegal since it was only capturing unencrypted data.
Despite the FCC's findings, critics are still calling for Google to be held accountable for its actions. On Tuesday, Consumer Watchdog, a frequent Google critic, called on the Senate's privacy committee to hold a hearing over Google's Wi-Fi data collection debacle.