Google reaches agreement with states over privacy breach

Google reaches agreement with states over privacy breach

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[JURIST] Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen [official website] announced Friday that he has reached an agreement [press release, PDF] with Google [corporate website; JURIST news archive] to avoid court proceedings over the company’s collection of private data from unsecured personal and business Wi-FI networks for its Street View maps [website] service. Connecticut announced in June that it would lead a multi-state investigation [JURIST report] against Google for possible privacy law violations. Under the agreement, Google will not be required to produce the information it collected. Instead, Google must only stipulate [text, PDF] that its Street View cars did collect data that contained data and private information. Jepsen expressed his belief that choosing negotiations over court proceedings is the right course of action for the state:

This is a good result for the people of Connecticut. The stipulation means we can proceed to negotiate a settlement of the critical privacy issues implicated here without the need for a protracted and costly fight in the courts, although we are ready to do so if we are unable to come to a satisfactory agreement through negotiation

In light of Connecticut’s investigation, Jepsen has urged Connecticut residents [press release, PDF] to protect their personal and communications data by securing their wireless networks.

In November, the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) [official website] launched its own investigation [JURIST report] into whether Google’s data collecting violated the Communications Act. In October, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website] announced that it had ended an inquiry [JURIST report] into the company’s internal policies and procedures that led to the breach. Several other countries have also initiated investigations, including Spain, Australia, Canada, the UK and South Korea [JURIST reports].