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Google Won’t Be Taken To Court Over Data Gather

By , AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 5:47 pm

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Google has since stopped the collection of Wi-Fi data, used to provide location-based services such as driving directions in Google Maps and other products, by Street View cars.

WASHINGTON, DC (AFP) – The US state of Connecticut said Friday it would hold negotiations with Google over the collection of private wireless data by its Street View mapping cars and not take the Internet giant to court.

“This is a good result for the people of Connecticut,” Connecticut attorney general George Jepsen said in a statement about the agreement reached between state authorities and Google.

“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,” Jepsen said.

Under the agreement, Google will not be required to produce the data it collected from unsecured wireless networks in Connecticut. Google had objected to turning over the data, raising the prospect of a lengthy court battle.

As part of the agreement, Google acknowledged that it collected and store data from private unsecured wireless networks, Jepsen said.

The data collected included website addresses, email and other “confidential and private information the network user was transmitting over the unsecured network while Google’s Street View car was within range.”

Connecticut is joined by 40 other US states in the probe into the collection of private wireless data by Street View cars.

Consumer Watchdog, a group which has been highly critical of Google’s privacy practices, condemned the agreement to settle the issue through negotiations and called for congressional hearings on the subject.

“The details of the biggest privacy breach in history shouldn’t be settled in secret,” said John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog. “This makes it clear why Google CEO Eric Schmidt needs to testify under oath before Congress about Wi-Spy.”

Google pledged to strengthen its privacy and security practices after its Street View cars scooped up data from unsecured wireless networks in dozens of countries.

Google has since stopped the collection of Wi-Fi data, used to provide location-based services such as driving directions in Google Maps and other products, by Street View cars.

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