|Updated: 3/12 4:47 pm
||Published: 3/12 12:44 pm
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced on Tuesday that Arkansas and other states have reached a $7 million settlement with Internet giant Google over allegations that the company collected data from unsecured wireless networks while taking photographs for its Street View service.
Google’s Street View cars were equipped to collect network identification information for use in future geolocation services. At the same time, Google collected and stored data being transmitted over unsecured wireless networks.
“No company should violate an individual’s privacy rights by collecting information without their permission,” McDaniel said. “While my office will investigate these types of practices, there are steps consumers can take to protect their privacy online, such as ensuring that their Internet networks are secure.”
In an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance filed with the states, Google acknowledged that information collected may have included addresses of requested web pages, partial or complete email communications, and confidential or private information being transmitted to or from the network while Street View cars were driving by, between 2008 and March 2010.
Google has since disabled or removed the equipment and software used to collect the data, agreed not to collect any more information without notice and consent, and has agreed to destroy the information that was collected as soon as legally practical.
The company agreed that the data was not and will not be used in any product or service, and that the information will not be disclosed to a third party.
Under terms of the agreement, Google is required to train employees on privacy and confidentiality of user data and it must also conduct a public service campaign to help educate consumers about steps they may take to better secure their personal information while on wireless networks.
A total of 38 states and the District of Columbia participated in a two-year investigation that led to the agreement.
Arkansas’ share of the settlement is $114,712.97.