The Street View Wi-Fi data debacle continues to haunt Google. Just as some investigations come to an end, it seems others are started. While the US Federal Trade Commission found no wrong-doing on the part of Google over the matter, the Federal Communications Commission is now starting its own investigation.
While the timing of the investigation is largely tied to a shift in power in the US Congress, with representatives trying to turn this into a political issue, and the move will likely have little repercussions for Google, it's still yet another investigation that makes it impossible for the company to delete the stored data.
Google made waves, and not in a good sense, a few months ago when it revealed that its Street View cars had been, inadvertently, collecting payload data, i.e. actual communications, from Wi-Fi networks.
The company said that it had no intention of doing so and only discovered the matter after an internal review. It also said it hoped to be able to delete the data as soon as agencies and law officials from around the world would allow it.
The revelation spurred several investigations from government agencies. Several countries instructed Google to delete the data as soon as possible while others concluded their investigations finding Google not guilty of any wrong doing.
However, as time passed, agencies in some countries did find Google guilty, though none imposed any sanctions on the company. An investigation in France found that the data contained full URLs, passwords and entire emails, despite the fact that most of it was fragmented.
This lead to Google acknowledging the fact that passwords and other sensitive data was captured. Google has not reviewed the data itself.
Several investigations are still underway. In the UK, the investigation was re-opened
after it was discovered that private data was captured.
Now, the US is following suit. It remains to be seen if any of this will lead to any palpable results.
Google has instituted tougher internal policies and said it will take several measures to ensure that this type of thing doesn't happen again. It remains to be seen if this will prove enough.