For those who came in late, Google’s Street view cars were packed full of hardware which sniffed people’s wireless ports and collected passwords and other personal data. The deal, details of which were reported last week, ends a nearly three-year investigation.
Google said the incident was a mistake owing to a piece of experimental computer code included in the cars' software. It said the data was not used in any Google services. Google agreed to destroy the data collected in the United States. It is working with various European countries to determine how to handle the data it collected there, because destroying it is probably illegal too.
Google did not acknowledge violating any US laws it was just writing a cheque to make the case go away. Marc Rotenberg, of the non-profit privacy advocacy group the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said that the fine represents the largest in US history by state Attorneys General for violations of Internet privacy.