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Multi-million dollar settlement in Google’s street view oogling

Google's Street View project let's people explore places around the world through 360-degree street level imagery. Cars have been driving around cities since 2007 with their cameras mounted on top of the vehicle. The latest generation of Google's cameras take high definition images. I caught this one in my neighborhood in 2011. (Linda Thomas photo)

Washington joins 37 other states in a $7 million settlement with search engine giant Google for collecting data from unsecured wireless networks nationwide while taking photographs for its Street View service.

From 2008 through May 2010, Google equipped its Street View cars with antennae and open-source software that it admitted was collecting network identification information to use for future geo-location services.

Google claimed it was “unaware” the company was collecting the data.

“This is a prime example of the power of the state Attorneys General to band together and hold powerful companies accountable,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement.

No longer collecting information,
Google has disabled or removed the equipment and software used to collect the information from its Street View vehicles, and has agreed not to collect any additional information without notice and consent.

Which is more important to you, privacy or convenience? Although the Google street view stalkers make me nervous, they also provide a service I use through Google Maps.

Of this multi-million dollar settlement, Washington will receive $135,604.


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