Remember way back in 2010 when people were up in arms about Google collecting and storing data — including e-mails, texts, browsing histories, and other fun, private stuff — while tooling around taking photos for Google Street View? Well, the multi-state lawsuit over that mess has finally been settled.
In all, the 38 plaintiff states — 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, Washington — and the District of Columbia will share a not-that-whopping $7 million pot.
Additionally, the settlement requires Google destroy all that information it collected between 2008 and 2010. The company must also train employees about protecting consumers and their information, and conduct a national ad campaign to educate consumers on how to protect their private information.
“Consumers have a right to protect their vital personal and financial information from improper and unwanted use by corporations like Google,” said New York Attorney General Schneiderman in a statement. “This settlement addresses privacy issues and protects the rights of people whose information was collected without their permission. My office will continue to hold corporations accountable for violating the rights of New Yorkers.”
Google, which has maintained that the data collection was accidental, has since disabled or removed the equipment and software that swiped this data from unsuspecting consumers.