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Google settles Street View privacy case with 38 states for $7 million

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Google NC data center via Street View
Google NC data center via Street View

Google has officially settled with 38 state attorneys general over alleged privacy violations from its Street View project. Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, who led the case, released a statement saying that Google has agreed to pay a total of $7 million to the states involved and the District of Columbia, and to sponsor a "nationwide public service campaign to help educate consumers about securing their wireless networks and protecting personal information," among other terms. The settlement was rumored yesterday, but the investigation had not yet officially ended at that point.

Google is accused of intercepting Wi-Fi data as its Street View cars traversed the US and other countries, and while the company blamed a single engineer for collecting the data, it's also equivocated about what was collected and how intentional the practice was. It previously faced a $25,000 FCC fine last year for impeding investigators, and despite claiming that all the data was subsequently deleted, it admitted to still having some in mid-2012.

In his statement, Attorney General Jepsen says that Google has agreed to delete any data that might remain, and to bulk up privacy guidelines for employees to prevent similar incidents in the future. We've reached out to Google for confirmation, but though the company still faces other lawsuits over Street View's data collection missteps, its American state-level cases look to be drawing to a close.