Google fined in Germany
A German regulator on Monday fined Google Inc. about $190,000 for illegally recording data from Wi-Fi networks while taking mapping photos for its Street View service. The regulator complained the amount, limited by law, was too little to dissuade large companies from violating privacy laws.
The Hamburg commissioner for data protection and freedom of information, Johannes Caspar, said Google captured data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks from 2008 until 2010.
After a two-year investigation, the Hamburg regulator determined Google had “negligently and without authorization” captured and stored personal information.
Google said Monday that it “quickly tightened” its data collection systems to address the issue when it learned its Street View fleet was capturing Wi-Fi data.
Europe pain but little gain
The austerity pain pursued by a number of European countries led to very little gain in 2012.
Figures Monday from Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, showed that many of the countries hit hardest by Europe’s financial crisis, such as Portugal and Spain, saw their budget deficits increase last year — even though they have pursued strict austerity policies designed to get their public finances back into shape. Though Europe’s combined deficit level fell during the year — largely thanks to Germany swinging into a budget surplus — countries continue to reel from the impact of austerity. The overall debt of the 17 EU countries that use the euro rose from 8.2 trillion euros ($10.7 trillion) to 8.6 trillion euros as the region sank back into recession.
Grad school gets big gift
A new high-tech graduate school in New York City is getting a $133 million gift from a California based telecommunications leader.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the donation Monday by Qualcomm’s founding chairman, Irwin Jacobs. An institute at Cornell NYC Tech will be named for Jacobs and his wife, Joan. Cornell NYC Tech is meant to link research and the real world, while helping make New York a high-tech hub. The city is chipping in free land and up to $100 million in improvements. Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology won a seven-way contest in 2011 to create the school. San Diego, Calif.-based Qualcomm Inc. is known for its wireless communication technology and services. It began with a discussion in Jacobs’ living room in 1985.