FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jackson, MS - Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that Mississippi will receive $114,995 from a settlement with Internet giant Google over its collection of data from unsecured wireless networks nationwide while taking photographs for its Street View service between 2008 and March 2010.
The total amount of the settlement among the 38 states in the lawsuit as well as the District of Columbia is $7 million.
“The privacy rights of our citizens is of utmost importance,” said Attorney General Hood. “This settlement is the result of nearly two years of negotiation and recognizes the rights of individuals whose information was collected without their permission.”
Google’s Street View cars were equipped with antennae and open-source software that the company acknowledged collected network identification information for use in future geolocation services. At the same time, Google collected and stored data frames and other “payload data” being transmitted over those unsecured business and personal wireless networks.
While Google represented it was unaware the payload data was being collected, the agreement of voluntary compliance it signed with the states Tuesday acknowledged the information may have included URLS of requested Web pages, partial or complete email communications, and any confidential or private information being transmitted to or from the network user while the Street View cars were driving by.
Google has since disabled or removed the equipment and software used to collect the payload data from its Street View vehicles, and agreed not to collect any additional information without notice and consent.
The information collected was segregated and secured, and under terms of the agreement, will be destroyed as soon as legally practicable. Further, Google agreed that the payload data was not used, and will not be used, in any product or service, and that the information collected in the United States was not disclosed to a third party.
Other key elements of the agreement require Google to run an employee training program about privacy and confidentiality of user data and continue the program for at least 10 years. It must also conduct a public service advertising campaign to help educate consumers about steps they may take to better secure their personal information while using wireless networks.
Other states participating in the settlement were: Connecticut, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Texas, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.