Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) made settlement with 37 states and the District of Columbia today putting an end to the long running street view privacy case. The terms of the settlement include a $7 million fine to the states involved and a nationwide consumer education campaign.
The case relates to preventing unauthorized data collection and training employees on privacy issues. The case involved, data collection by the internet giant from unsecured wireless networks between 2008 and 2010 as part of its Street View mapping service. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) was alleged of unfairly collecting and storing user information, which includes email and text messages, passwords and web histories. Google earlier in its defence claimed that the information was stored and collected by a rogue engineer.”
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“We work hard to get privacy right at Google. But in this case we didn’t, which is why we quickly tightened up our systems to address the issue,” Google said in a statement. “The project leaders never wanted this data, and didn’t use it or even look at it. We’re pleased to have worked with Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and the other state attorneys general to reach this agreement.”
As per the settlement, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) must scrap all the personal information collected during its Street View project, design an employee training program, which must continue for the next 10 years, aimed at protecting consumers’ personal information and launch a nationwide ad campaign wide ad campaign with an objective to educate consumers on the privacy issues.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said protecting personal and financial information from unauthorized use by corporations like Google is the right of every user. He further told that the settlement protects privacy issues and provides justice to the people whose vital information was collected without their consent. “My office will continue to hold corporations accountable for violating the rights of New Yorkers,” Attorney added.
Other than New York, states in favour of the settlement include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
The investigations started in 2010 were headed by then-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. At least 12 countries have been investigating Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) over Street View data collection, as per Electronic Privacy Information Centre.