Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has made an important concession in court. The search giant conceded that it violated the privacy of computer users while running its Street View project. The company apparently collected e-mails, passwords and other personal data from users who were unaware of it at the time.
The New York Times reports that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is settling a case involving 38 different states and its actions during its Street View project. The case involves the collection of information from unsecured Wi-Fi networks as Google’s Street View car drove through neighborhoods taking pictures. The company will now be required to watch over its own employees in regards to privacy issues. It will also have to clearly inform the public about how to avoid violations of privacy similar to this one.
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The settlement also comes with a $7 million fine; however, that small bit of pocket change wasn’t why some privacy experts praised the settlement. They call it a breakthrough because in the past, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has gotten away with the equivalent of a slap on the wrist in other privacy cases.
The case also throws into question the use of Google Glass, the company’s wearable computing device that comes in the form of a pair of glasses. The device could, theoretically, be used to violate people’s privacy by recording their interactions or other information while out in public.
While some experts are pleased with the settlement, others believe it should go even further, saying that asking Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) to police people’s privacy is like ordering the fox to watch over the hen house.