Search giant Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) has agreed to pay $7 million in order to settle claims related to its Google Maps Street View service.
The lawsuit involved 38 different states as well as the District of Columbia and centered on Google collecting data from Wi-Fi networks with its Street View cars between 2008 and 2010. According to a press release today from the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, Google said it was unaware of the data collection, but acknowledged that some information was gathered.
The company has removed the equipment and software from its Street View cars in order to address the privacy concerns, and said it would not collect any more data without consumer notice and consent, the AG said. Google intends to destroy the information that it collected, and said the data was not used for any commercial purpose.
According to the Massachusetts attorney general, the improperly gathered information may have included URLs of requested Web pages, partial or complete email communications, and confidential or private information being transmitted to or from the network user while the Street View cars were driving down streets.
As part of the agreement, Google will also conduct -- for at least a decade -- a training program for employees about privacy and confidentiality alongside an advertising campaign intended to increase public awareness of privacy issues.
The states involved were: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, and the District of Columbia.