Google fined for collecting personal data with Street View cars in 2010

google-street-view-car (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • In 2010, Google's Street View cars collected emails and passwords from unprotected Wi-Fi networks.
  • Google's finally reached a settlement and has agreed to pay $13 million.
  • All of the data that was collected will be destroyed.

Google has finally reached a settlement concerning a privacy scandal that occurred back in 2010. Nine years ago, Google found itself involved in the "Wi-Spy" incident in which its Street View cars were collecting people's emails, passwords, and other personal data from unprotected Wi-Fi networks in homes the cars drove by.

Wi-Spy is said to have affected tens of millions of people, and while a San Fransico judge still needs to give final approval on the settlement, it'll see Google paying a fine of $13 million.

However, other than 20 plaintiffs that were part of a class-action lawsuit, none of the other affected individuals will be receiving a form of compensation. After legal fees, that $13 million is being divvied up between advocacy groups for consumer privacy.

Google says it'll get rid of any data it still has from Wi-Spy and work with people on how they can better protect their privacy, but all things considered, Google got off pretty easy. For some perspective, that $13 million isn't even one-sixth of the income Google's parent company Alphabet earns in a single day.

Google has yet to comment on the settlement news, but it's bound to be quite happy with the outcome considering the severity of the Wi-Spy fiasco.

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Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.