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Google Settles U.S. Street View Data Collection Case With $7 Million Fine

6:14 pm on Mar 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Hmmm, small change for Google, imho.

Google has agreed to pay a $7m (4.6m) fine for collecting people's personal data without authorisation as part of its Street View service.

In a settlement with 38 US states, the internet giant agreed to destroy emails, passwords, and web histories.

The data was harvested from home wireless networks as Street View cars photographed neighbourhoods between 2008 and 2010.

Google said it was pleased to have resolved the issue.

"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," the firm 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."Google Settles U.S. Street View Data Collection Case With $7 Million Fine [bbc.co.uk]
US Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the legal settlement.

Earlier story
Google Said To Be Close To Settling Street View Data Collection [webmasterworld.com]
6:37 pm on Mar 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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From the bbc link above:
This is the biggest fine of its type to date, said Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at research firm Ovum.

Well, back in August '12, news outlets said Google is paying a record $22.5 million fine to settle allegations that it broke a privacy promise.

Who gets the money?
8:32 am on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Who gets the money?

Theoretically the tax payer does.

It amazes me though that people will get into a huff if their email address is collected from a street view car while at the same time having no issue with their molecular signature being monitored from space. How do you think they are finding all the new species lately? I hope the data is put to good use, for people.
10:27 pm on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It's still silly because it was openly broadcast information without encryption meaning the person broadcasting it obviously didn't care if it were intercepted otherwise they would have had a password requirement at a minimum. Kind of like someone complaining others listened in and recorded their CB or Shortwave broadcasts where weren't scrambled.

Back when the fist cordless phones came out, long before spread spectrum, everyone knew they weren't encrypted either and you switched to a hard-wired landline if you didn't want people listening to your conversation. If you think listening to others cordless calls was hard, it wasn't, you just unplugged your base station and then you could hear the other parties over your handset.

Oh well, at least this chapter's over, but I wouldn't be surprised if something more interesting was going on as well and possibly why the small fine as maybe a deal was struck. I'm not conspiracy theorist at all but I know for a fact that while the government couldn't do what Google did without a warrant, once someone else has done it they're perfectly within their legal rights to "buy a copy" if it were made available. That's the business model some data mining companies that currently stealth mine the internet that I won't mention anymore because I got tired of seeing my blog posts being monitored by those groups and DOD, DHS, etc. which was easily spotted in my logs.

FWIW, Google didn't do anything drive-by hackers do except Google fessed up and they aren't the one's I'd be worrying about if I were running an open wifi because it would be easier to set someone up for some real trouble using their open wifi IP connection.