Internet giant Google is set to be fined $7 million for gathering package data from US homes.
Around 30 US states have looked to punish Google for the incident in 2010 involving its Street Views cars collecting more than just images of roads and houses – they also inadvertently gathered passwords and personal data from many homes with unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
Reuters has reported a source close to the matter has informed it of the impending decision, with the settlement set to be officially confirmed later this week.
Speaking to AllThingsD on the matter, a Google spokesperson said: ” 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.”
On its official blog in May 2010, Google initially denied that it had collected data. The firm changed its tune less than a month later however, admitting that it had collected the data mistakenly.
More recently, the Internet giant blamed a ‘rogue engineer’ for the error. The firm did act to segregate the data once it became aware it had collected it however.
The Street View cars started collecting data for mapping purposes in 2007, finishing in 2010.
The Washington DC based public interest research centre, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), claims more than 12 countries investigated the issue of data collection, with at least nine of them finding Google guilty of violating privacy laws.
Google has always tried to generate positive online PR when it comes to privacy, standing against a conference last year involving the ITU it deemed to be a threat to the free and open Internet. However rivals, such as Microsoft, have also used privacy issues, such as the monitoring of emails in Gmail, to send out negative PR about the firm.
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