Google fined $7 million for Street View data collections

Google has agreed to pay a $7 million (£4.6 million) fine for collecting people’s personal data without authorisation as part of its Street View service.In a settlement with 38 US states, the company finally agreed to destroy emails, passwords, and web histories.

The data was harvested from home wireless networks as Street View cars photographed neighbourhoods between 2008 and 2010.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the legal settlement.

“Consumers have a right to protect their vital personal and financial information from improper and unwanted use by corporations like Google,” he said.

“This settlement addresses privacy issues and protects the rights of people whose information was collected without their permission.”

As well as agreeing to delete all the harvested data, Google has also been required to launch an employee training program about privacy and data use which it must continue for at least ten years.

It must also launch a public service advertising campaign to educate consumers about how to secure their information on wireless networks.

Google claims it collected wi-fi data because of rogue code mistakenly included in the software by a lone engineer.

The controversy led data authorities around the world to demand Google made changes.

Nick Pickles, head of UK privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said the US had handled the issue better than the UK.

“British regulators barely managed to slap Google on the wrist for this, so yet again British consumers seem to be left with weaker protection of their privacy than other countries,” he said.