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Google Street View Settles Lawsuit Over Data Collection

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen announced a $7 million multistate settlement with Google over unauthorized data collection from unsecured wireless networks.

A Press Release for Attorney General George Jepsen.

Attorney General George Jepsen this week announced a $7 million multistate settlement with Internet giant Google Inc., over its unauthorized collection of data from unsecured wireless networks nationwide through Google’s Street View vehicles.

Connecticut led the eight-state executive committee that worked for two years to investigate the matter and negotiate the assurance of voluntary compliance with Google, which took effect today. Including the executive committee, attorneys general for 38 states and the District of Columbia signed the agreement with Google to resolve their consumer protection and privacy claims. As lead state, Connecticut’s share of the settlement is $520,823.

“While the $7 million is significant, the importance of this agreement goes beyond financial terms. Consumers have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This agreement recognizes those rights and ensures that Google will not use similar tactics in the future to collect personal information without permission from unsuspecting consumers,” Attorney General Jepsen said.

The agreement also requires Google to: engage in a comprehensive employee education program about the privacy or confidentiality of user data; to sponsor a nationwide public service campaign to help educate consumers about securing their wireless networks and protecting personal information; and to continue to secure, and eventually destroy, the data collected and stored by its Street View vehicles nationwide between 2008 and March 2010. Google also collected similar data around the world.

 Connecticut Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said, “As a dominant force shaping and changing how consumers use the internet, Google must also show leadership in minimizing security and privacy risks to consumers who take advantage of the internet. In complying with this settlement, Google has the opportunity to set the bar for the industry in better educating the public about avoiding and reducing cyber-risks.”

Attorney General Jepsen said, “This was a protracted, complex negotiation. Google deserves credit for working in good faith with my office to develop policies and best practices to protect consumer privacy going forward.” Jepsen has made data and privacy protection a priority since taking office in 2011, including creation of a multidisciplinary Privacy Task Force.

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