Google Fined $7M for Street View Snooping

Settlement includes privacy lessons for employees

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 13, 2013 12:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – Google has coughed up $7 million—about an hour's revenue for the search giant—to settle a probe into its Street View cars' unauthorized collection of huge amounts of personal data. As part of the settlement with 38 states and the District of Columbia, Google has also agreed to destroy the data, to educate its employees on consumer privacy, and to launch a national ad campaign to teach consumers about the importance of protecting data on wireless networks, Mashable reports.

Google, which says the data was collected by accident and was never used, admitted that it had violated people's privacy but the settlement did not include any acknowledgement of breaking the laws. Privacy advocates hailed the settlement—though not the size of the fine—and predicted future legal clashes over Google's wearable computers. "If you use Google Glass to record a couple whispering to each other in Starbucks, have you violated their privacy?” a consultant for Google's competitors tells the New York Times. “Well, 38 states just said they have a problem with the unauthorized collection of people’s data.”

A Google car with roof-mounted digital imaging equipment circles neighborhoods in Racine, Wisconsin.
A Google car with roof-mounted digital imaging equipment circles neighborhoods in Racine, Wisconsin.   (AP Photo/Journal Times, Mark Hertzberg)
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Asking Google to educate consumers about privacy is like asking the fox to teach the chickens how to ensure the security of their coop. - Consumer Watchdog

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