Google fined $9 million over hotspot data grab
NEW YORK (AFP) - Google agreed to pay a US$7 million (S$8.7 million) fine in the United States on Tuesday for stealthily collecting data from private Wi-Fi hotspots in a mapping service slip that irked an array of countries.
In a legal settlement with attorneys general in 38 states, the Internet giant also agreed to ramp up employee training about data privacy and back a nationwide campaign to teach people about securing wireless networks.
Word that vehicles snapping panoramic photos in neighborhoods for Street View images in Google's online maps were grabbing data from unsecured hotspots triggered investigations in at least a dozen countries, according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic).
At least nine countries have found Google violated local laws, said Epic. In the settlement announced on Tuesday, Google again promised that email, passwords, web histories and other data captured by Street View vehicles in the United States between 2008 and 2010 will be destroyed.