Google fined by German data protection agency

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A German data protection agency fined Google Inc. 145,000 euros ($189,000) for illegally recording information from unsecured wireless networks - an amount it acknowledged is "totally inadequate" as a deterrent to the multinational giant.

Hamburg's state data protection agency said Monday that Google admitted collecting data including emails, passwords, photos and chat protocols from 2008-2010 as it prepared to launch its Street View service. Google says it never intended to store personal data and the agency says it has been deleted.

Agency head Johannes Caspar says "company internal control mechanisms failed seriously" at Google but the maximum fine possible was 150,000 euros which was "unlikely...to have a deterring effect." Google earned $3.3 billion in the first quarter.

Caspar urged dramatic increases to possible maximum fines under future European regulations.

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