The accountants at Google must be sweating in their boots after Brazilian judges ordered them to hand over private data collected through its Street View program.
So that Google gets the message how serious the judges are, it has been told that they will face a daily fine of $50,000, up to a maximum of $500,000 if they do not do what they are told.
Google pays more than $500,000 a day on stocking the vending machines at the Goolgeplex so it is not as if the outfit can’t afford to drag its feet on the order.
According to France 24, it looks like Google has a right to be stroppy about the court order too. A few years ago, Google got into hot water over software in its Street View cars which were sniffing wi-fi data. That ended up in court and Google ended up paying a lot of money to make various court cases go away. It appeared to learn its lesson and swore never to do that again.
Now there is a complaint from the Brazilian Institute of Computer Policy and Rights (IBDI), Google is using car-borne software to access private wi-fi networks and intercept personal data and electronic communications.
IBDI pointed to similar occurrences in other parts of the world and demanded that Google reveal if it had engaged in such practices. You would think this is old news, and wonder why it took so long for the IBDI to get the case to court.
However, it turns out that this case is based on the recent outrage of NSA spying in Brazil. Targets included President Dilma Rousseff’s communications, those of state-run energy giant Petrobras and emails and telephone calls of millions of Brazilians.
Google has denied any link to the US electronic snooping, mainly conducted by the powerful National Security Agency (NSA) but Snowden revealed that Google’s fibre optic cable was being hacked.
The IBDI seems to think that Google’s street view is part of a plot by the NSA to snoop on Brazilians now.
Google told the court the debate on data collection took place in several countries ages ago and the case was now closed.