March 12, 2013 - 22:09 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Google has agreed to pay a $7 million fine for collecting people's personal data without authorization as part of its Street View service, according to BBC News.
In a settlement with 38 U.S. states, the internet giant agreed to destroy emails, passwords, and web histories.
The data was harvested from home wireless networks as Street View cars photographed neighborhoods between 2008 and 2010.
Google said it was pleased to have resolved the issue.
"We work hard to get privacy right at Google. But in this case we didn't, which is why we quickly tightened up our systems to address the issue," the firm said in a statement. "The project leaders never wanted this data, and didn't use it or even look at it. We're pleased to have worked with Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and the other state attorneys general to reach this agreement."
U.S. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the legal settlement.
"Consumers have a right to protect their vital personal and financial information from improper and unwanted use by corporations like Google," he said. "This settlement addresses privacy issues and protects the rights of people whose information was collected without their permission."
Google claims it collected wi-fi data because of rogue code mistakenly included in the software. The controversy led data authorities around the world to demand Google made changes.
Nick Pickles, head of UK privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said the U.S. had handled the issue better than the UK.
"British regulators barely managed to slap Google on the wrist for this, so yet again British consumers seem to be left with weaker protection of their privacy than other countries," he said.