Google to pay $7M in data collection settlement

By Bryan Cohen | Mar 13, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC (Legal Newsline) - Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have entered a $7 million settlement with Google over its collection of personal data while gathering data for its Street View service.

Between 2008 and March 2010, Google Street View vehicles collected network identification information for use in future geolocation services, collecting and storing data frames and other payload data that consumers transmitted over unsecured personal and business wireless networks. Payload data can include user passwords, emails and browsing activity.

Under the terms of the agreement announced Tuesday, Google must conduct employee training on privacy and confidentiality of user data for at least 10 years, conduct a public service advertising campaign to educate consumers on securing their personal information on wireless networks, pay $7 million to 38 states and the District of Columbia, and not collect any additional information without notice and consent.

"While this agreement puts a stop to Google's unwarranted data collection, it should serve as an important reminder to Illinois residents to take the necessary steps to protect their personal information online," Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said.

Joining Madigan in the settlement were attorneys general from Washington, Virginia, Vermont, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Oregon, Oklahoma, Ohio, North Dakota, North Carolina, New York, New Mexico, New Jersey, Nevada, Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Mississippi, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Louisiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Iowa, Hawaii, Florida, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Connecticut, Colorado, California, Arkansas, Arizona and Alaska.

Google has disabled or removed the software and equipment it used to collect the data from its Street View vehicles. Google maintained that it never used the data collected and that it never disclosed the information in the United States to a third party. As part of the agreement, information collected by Google must be segregated, secured and destroyed.

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