Liz Gannes, AllThingsD:
Google will soon settle with the attorneys general representing more than 30 U.S. states over its Street View cars collecting data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks, multiple sources said.
The Wi-Spy incident has taken years to play out. The actual data collection happened between 2007 and 2010. At first, Google denied that it had collected any payload data; then it admitted it had collected data “mistakenly.” Then, last year, it came out that the system was built knowingly by a “rogue engineer,” but even so, it had been approved. Later, Google said it found that a bunch of the payload data that it had said it deleted was still in its possession, and started giving it back to governments for their investigations.
Google has said it never did anything with the data collected. A company spokesperson said today, “We work hard to get privacy right at Google. But in this case we didn’t, which is why we quickly tightened up our systems to address the issue.”
Google is to pay $7 million, to be distributed among the attorneys general, according to a person familiar with the matter. That person said the agreement is close to being finalized, and should be announced early next week.
For comparison, Google books nearly $7 million per hour in revenue, so I’m sure this will teach them a lesson.