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In The Loop
Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 04/17/2012

Google’s teensy FCC fine

Google co-founder Sergey Brin at a panel discussion in February 2010. (Robert Galbraith - Reuters)
The microscopic fine imposed Friday on Google for impeding a federal investigation into the company’s violation of privacy laws has got some folks on the Hill grumbling about “a slap on the wrist.”

Actually, the Federal Communications Commission’s $25,000 fine is a bit less than a slap — more like a gentle nudge on the arm. As our colleague Dina ElBoghdady reports, the fine amounted to one-thousandth of what the company earns in a day.

Or, as ProPublica noted, the company earns that much in profits every 68 seconds. The FCC could have levied a whopping $337,500 fine for all the infractions, which would amount to about 15 minutes of profits.

No doubt we’ll see lawmakers start talking about companies that are “too big to fine” and even wondering about imposing criminal penalties as the only meaningful way to deal with these situations.

Hmmm. Google’s top executives doing the old “perp walk” on the way to a court hearing?

Most unlikely.

By  |  12:30 PM ET, 04/17/2012

Tags:  Federal Communications Commission, FCC, fines, Google, privacy, slap on wrist, pro publica, Al Kamen, In the Loop, Emily Heil

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