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Belgium Says Google Broke Privacy Law, Offers Cash Settlement
Google is considering a settlement offer from federal prosecutors in Belgium who say the company broke national privacy laws when it collected personal data from unsecured WiFi networks via its Street View vehicles.
According to Bloomberg, prosecutors have offered Google a €150,000 penalty (currently about $215,000 USD) for the gaffe that Google has repeatedly said was accidental. Google has three months to accept the penalty; if it doesn’t, prosecutors may take the case to court, where Google could face higher fines and perhaps even time in prison.
A Google spokesperson confirmed the settlement offer and told Bloomberg, “We have to study it carefully.”
Belgium was slow to investigate Google’s data collection, having only launched its investigation earlier this year. Many other countries have already completed investigations and found that Google violated their privacy laws. But so far, France’s €100,000 fine in March is the only actual penalty Google has faced.