Google's WiFi Snooping Settlement: 10 Reasons It Paid $7 Million
NEWS ANALYSIS: Google has accepted a settlement that requires it to pay $7 million to the states involved in the Street View WiFi snooping investigation. It’s a small sum for an issue that had the potential to cause serious damage.Google has settled a longstanding legal investigation that involved complaints about the WiFi-data snooping that was conducted by its Street View service. The company, along with attorneys general at the majority of states in the United States, agreed to pay $7 million to settle outstanding complaints about privacy law violations. The company also said that it wouldn’t let something like it happen again. So, what happened? It’s perhaps a long story that began years ago. Google’s Street View cars, while snapping photos of neighborhoods around the United States, were also recording WiFi information and data transmitted by unencrypted wireless networks in homes and businesses as they passed. A “rogue engineer,” the company alleges, was collecting that data, and it was never used for illegal purposes. But the damage was done. Many people were offended that Google recorded personal WiFi data along with Street View images and geolocation data. Attorneys general for 37 states got involved in the investigation of alleged privacy violated resulting from the Street View data records. Now Google is left to pay out some cash to make it right. But what about the Google WiFi-snooping incident do you need to know? With a deal now in place, it’ll likely be swept under the rug and forgotten. But here are the issues that led to the settlement so people who run their own WiFi networks can understand what Google’s actions meant to their personal privacy.