By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The federal government is forcing Google to cough up $25,000 in fines following an investigation into how it collected piles of personal information, like e-mails, from private wireless networks.

It happened as the search giant was mapping neighborhoods for its “Street View” online service.

The cars with roof-mounted cameras — snapping photos of homes and stores and everything else streetside — also were mapping local Wi-Fi networks, “so they could put together a database and a map and better provide users with location-based services, such as the things that you and I use on our smartphones,” explains Politico tech reporter Tony Romm.

He says Google also admitted taking in data over those networks that weren’t password protected.

“That meant that Google had in its possession full e-mails and conversations and web pages that web browsers had visited,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

The FCC found no laws were broken, but instead that Google was uncooperative in its investigation, which started in 2010.

“That being said, there’s still a lot of concern and inquiry out there,” Romm notes.

Especially from dozens of state attorneys general, who are still doing their own probe into Google’s actions. And from privacy groups, pushing for the Justice Department to get involved.

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