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Google To Pay $7 Million Fine For Drive-By Wi-Fi Snooping

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 by | Filed Under: In The News, Using The Internet
 
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Tech giant Google has settled a lawsuit brought by 38 states and the District of Columbia, accusing the company of violating privacy rights during its Street View Mapping Project. The cars used in the project were outfitted with equipment and software that collected information from unsecured wireless networks.

The company admitted that the information collected may have included e-mail communications and other confidential information transmitted over networks while the Street View cars were in the area.

 

Derek Schmidt, Attorney General of Kansas, one of the 39 states that sued Google for violating citizens’ privacy, said.  “Kansans expect that their privacy rights are not being violated by cars driving by their homes and gathering their personal information from home computer networks.”

As part of the settlement, Google has agreed to stop the practice and destroy the data they collected. The company will pay a $7 Million Dollar fine and agreed to train employees about privacy for the next 10 years. Google will also launch a public service campaign to teach people how to secure their personal information on wireless networks. With Google worth an estimated $198 billion, a $7 million dollar fine is pretty much equal to fining a person who earns $30,000 a year a penny. Although the public service campaigns and training will cost the company money, it’s not going to put too much of a dent in its bank account.

 

Google was fined $22 million last summer for violating privacy settings on Apple’s Safari browser by the Federal Trade Commission. According to the FTC’s complaint, Google specifically told Safari users that because the Safari browser is set by default to block third-party cookies, as long as users do not change their browser settings, this setting “effectively accomplishes the same thing as [opting out of this particular Google advertising tracking cookie].” When in fact the cookies were placed on users’ computers. As part of that settlement, the company agreed to disable those tracking cookies. 

It’s always a good idea to secure your home network to prevent anyone from gaining access to your data.

~ Cynthia

 

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2 Responses to “Google To Pay $7 Million Fine For Drive-By Wi-Fi Snooping”

  1. Mark says:

    “Kansans expect that their privacy rights are not being violated by cars driving by their homes and gathering their personal information from home computer networks.”

    I am sorry but if they expect that then they expect too much. Would you change close in front of an uncovered picture window and then complain that someone saw you naked? If you don’t secure your home network then you are asking for trouble. If this attorney general thinks the thieves aren’t doing this then he is very naive.

    Cynthia your last statement that “It’s always a good idea to secure your home network . . .” is not nearly strong enough. It is not just a good idea it is absolutely imperative, unless your live way out in the woods and then you probably don’t even have a home network.

  2. Randy Fletcher says:

    I have seen this Google car in Odessa Texas at the Loves truck stop just off I-20 just a few days ago………..

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