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Attorneys General of 38 states, including New York, and officials of Washington, D.C., have inked a settlement with Google Inc. over the firms past practice of pulling data off unsecured wireless networks.
The settlement traces to cases where the Street View vehicles Google sends around the country to collect images for its Google Earth and Google Maps services also collected information broadcast by wireless networks. Information Google pulled from networks whose owners set them up without password protection included emails, text messages, browsing histories and passwords
Google stopped gathering such unauthorized data in 2010 after employing the practice for some two years. The company says it has disabled or removed equipment used to collect such data and has secured and destroyed previously collected information.
As part of the settlement, Google agreed to refrain from any future collection of data without network owners’ permission, to train its workers to avoid unauthorized data collection and to help educate consumers on how to protect their personal information. It also promised not to use personal data collected by Street View cars in products or services and to not turn over such data to third parties.
“Consumers have a right to protect their vital personal and financial information from improper and unwanted use by corporations like Google,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “My office will continue to hold corporations accountable for violating the rights of New Yorkers.”
New York’s share of the $7 million fine Google agreed to pay as part of the deal comes to some $192,000.
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