Google To Pay $7 Million To U.S States As Street View Data Capturing Case Settlement
Google has agreed to pay a $7 million fine to settle claims from 37 states and the District of Columbia that the search giant improperly collected data from unsecured wireless networks across the United States using its “Street View” vehicles.
The announcement of the settlement is expected to be made by the states early next week, according to the person, though some of the final details of the deal were still being hammered out on Friday. Google has said the incident was a mistake.
A group of states, led by then-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, began the investigation into Google in 2010 after the company revealed that its fleet of Street View cars had inadvertently collected the data from unsecured wireless networks.
“While the 7 million dollars is significant, the importance of this agreement goes beyond financial terms,” Connecticut Attorney General George Jespen said after the settlement.
“Consumers have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This agreement recognizes those rights and ensures that Google will not use similar tactics in the future.”
As part of the settlement, Google said it would destroy the personal data it collected.
It has also removed the equipment and software used to collect the data from its Street View vehicles and will not collect additional information without prior notice and consent, the Attorney General of New York said in a statement.
It’s a relatively small sum for a company of Google’s size. To put the settlement in context, it’s a little more than the $6 million bonus that Google will pay Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt for his work at the company in 2012, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday.
Google will also provide a training program to its employees for 10 years about privacy and the confidentiality of user data, and will launch a public-service advertising campaign to educate consumers about keeping their personal information secure on Wi-Fi networks.