'Wi-Spy' Error Costs Google $7 Million
Google may have been trying a little too hard to provide information to its users.
Several complaints were filed regarding the company's Street View cars – which go around collecting imagery for Google Maps. They charged that data was inadvertently being collected from private Wi-Fi networks, including passwords and emails. Three years after the company admitted the collection of such information, it's finally decided to settle up.
Google has paid an estimated $7 million to the 38 states involved with the matter, and it has assured that future steps will be taken with its Street View cars so that such incidents will not happen again. Any personal data that was collected by the company will be destroyed as part of the agreement.
"We work hard to get privacy right at Google," the company said in a follow-up statement. "But in this case we didn't, which is why we quickly tightened up our systems to address the issue. The project leaders never wanted this data, and didn't use it or even look at it."
This is following a $25,000 fine issued by the Federal Communications Commission last year for "willfully" stonewalling the agency's detailed investigation into the matter.
However, Google isn't out of the woods yet, as several other parties still have a private lawsuit pending over the gathering of the information. No word yet on a settlement.