MADIGAN ANNOUNCES $7 MILLION SETTLEMENT OVER GOOGLE STREET VIEW
Agreement Bans Unauthorized Data Collection, Requires Privacy Training for Employees & National Campaign on Protecting Personal Information
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today joined with 37 states and the District of Columbia to announce a $7 million settlement with Google over its collection of personal data of Illinois residents and from consumers across the country while gathering data for its popular Street View service.
Under the agreement, Google also has agreed to destroy the personal data it collected, which could have included people’s emails, passwords and browsing history shared over wireless Internet connections.
“While this agreement puts a stop to Google’s unwarranted data collection, it should serve as an important reminder to Illinois residents to take the necessary steps to protect their personal information online,” Madigan said.
Google Street View allows users to view actual photographs when using Google’s map service or driving direction service. Google collects the images for Street View using vehicles equipped with antennae and open-source software that travel all over the world to photograph homes, buildings and other landmarks to include in these location-based services.
The agreement addresses practices by Google between 2008 and March 2010, when Street View vehicles collected network identification information for use in future geolocation services. At the same time, Google was collecting and storing data frames and other “payload data” that was being transmitted by consumers over unsecured business and personal wireless networks. Payload data can include user emails, passwords and browsing activity.
Google has since disabled or removed the equipment and software used to collect payload data from its Street View vehicles. Under the agreement with Madigan and the attorneys general, Google must not collect any additional information without notice and consent.
Google has maintained that it never used the data collected and that the information collected in the United States was not disclosed to a third party. Under the agreement, information collected by Google was segregated and secured and must now be destroyed.
In addition, Google must conduct employee trainings on privacy and confidentiality of user data for at least 10 years. The company must also conduct a public service advertising campaign to help educate consumers about steps they may take to better secure their personal information while using wireless networks.
Protect Your Online Identity
Joining Madigan in today’s settlement were attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew Van Hise handled the case for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.