Google to settle Wi-Fi data collection U.S case for $7M: Report

Summary:The search giant will reportedly settle its Street View Wi-Fi data collection case in the U.S. for a mere $7 million, which will take the firm just over two hours to recover from.

Google will reportedly settle its case with U.S. authorities this week, after the company collected data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks with its Street View cars.

First reported by AllThingsD, the search giant will settle for around $7 million, which will be distributed among the attorneys general representing more than 30 U.S. states. The agreement could be signed off on as soon as early this week, following a probe by state attorneys general in 2010.

In 2010, Google admitted that it had collected fragments of personal and sensitive data from home wireless broadband networks in the U.S. and Europe while its Street View cars were on the road. It was part of wider efforts to determine the location of Wi-Fi networks to help build up a list of assisted location services for mobile users.

According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), more than a dozen countries have or are investigating the matter, with at least nine states finding the company guilty of breaching their laws.

But the case continues on in the U.K., after authorities re-opened the investigation after first burying the hatchet with the company after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission found further evidence to support its probe.

The U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office at first didn't fine the company, but remains quiet on its current state of play with Google, after demanding further answers from the company in June 2012 in a sternly-written letter.

Google was, however, fined $25,000 by the FCC after it "deliberately impeded and delayed" a federal investigation into whether or not it breached U.S. federal laws. It was also fined €100,000 ($142,000, at the time) by the French privacy watchdog, reports AFP.

It's estimated, based on some rough pre-caffeine calculations, that Google could generate this loss back in sales, based on Google's Q4 earnings, in about two hours.

Topics: Google, Privacy

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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