Google To Settle ‘Wi-Spy’ Street View Data Slurping Lawsuit

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Search engine giant expected to pay a mere $13m to end lawsuit over Street View data harvesting

Google is reportedly close to settling a class action lawsuit that was triggered after it slurped up people’s data from Wi-Fi connections during its cars’ Street View rounds nearly a decade ago.

Google was supposed to have deleted all the data it hoovered up between 2008 and 2010 after its Street View cars picked up and stored all types of personal data from unprotected Wi-Fi networks.

Google didn’t help matters when it revealed in 2012 that it had found more disks containing data related to UK citizens harvested during the sweep.

Wi-Spy Street View

Google was hit with a class action lawsuit as a result and now years later, Bloomberg has reported that Google is expected to reach a settlement in which it will pay just $13m (£10.4m).

Google had gathered data including emails, text messages and passwords during its Street View car drive bys.

It is reported that Google will make the settlement with those who formed a class-action lawsuit. However no other affected owners of the Wi-Fi networks will receive compensation, despite it reportedly affecting tens of millions of people.

After legal fees, it is thought that the $13m penalty will be divvied up between advocacy groups for consumer privacy.

Google reportedly will also destroy any data it still holds as part of the settlement, collected as a result of the Street View mapping process, and will commit to teaching people how to protect their privacy online.

It has been reported that Google has actually got off pretty lightly, as $13m isn’t even one-sixth of the income that Alphabet earns in a single day.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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