Google has paid a 7-million-dollar fine to
settle a lawsuit alleging that its Street View camera vehicles
illegally intercepted information sent over unsecured wireless
networks, officials said Tuesday.
In addition to the fine, the internet giant pledged to create a public campaign about the importance of securing wireless networks and introduce enhanced employee privacy training.
The lawsuit stemmed from Google's use of so-called Street View vehicles equipped with 360-degree cameras to take street-level pictures that can be called up on maps. The vehicles were further equipped to detect Wi-Fi networks for location verification, which scooped up fragments of personal information over unsecured networks.
Insisting that the information was collected inadvertently, Google did not admit any wrongdoing in Tuesday's settlement with the 38 states that sued over the practice.
"While the 7 million dollars is significant, the importance of this agreement goes beyond financial terms," Connecticut Attorney General George Jespen said.
"Consumers have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This agreement recognizes those rights and ensures that Google will not use similar tactics in the future to collect personal information without permission from unsuspecting consumers."
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