justice

R.I. to land $105K for Google privacy breach

BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/CHRIS RATCLIFFE
RHODE ISLAND stands to receive $104,491 from a $7 million, multi-state settlement with Google Inc. over privacy issues.
Posted 3/12/13

PROVIDENCE - Pending a $7 million national settlement, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin joined 37 other states and the District of Columbia in a consumer privacy suit against Google Inc., collecting $104,491 for Rhode Island.

While conducting its Street View program, the company collected and secured private and confidential data transmitted over unsecured wireless networks using antennae and software specifically designed to collect network identification information “for use in future geolocation services,” the AG release stated.

“Consumers should not have to worry that someone is going to access their personal web browsing information or email communications,” said Kilmartin in the release. “This settlement recognizes the privacy rights of individuals whose information was collected without their permission and sends a clear message to companies that privacy practices need to be implemented and respected.”

Google alleged that none of the data was shared with third parties or used in past or future products, and agreed to disable the equipment and destroy the data. The settlement agreement requires the company to run an ongoing employee training program about the use of private and confidential user data for the 10 years while also crafting an advertising campaign aimed at informing consumers about securing their personal information over wireless networks.

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