Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) – the third-most popular stock holding among hedge funds that we track – has been making a lot of headlines in other countries, and has had its share of run-ins with domestic authorities over data collections, anti-trust charges and security issues of the years, especially in recent years where cybersecurity and online privacy have become tantamount issues. And even in the process of doing a good service by creating updated information on its Google Maps Street View, it apparently compromised privacy and security via unsecured wireless networks in the areas where Google’s Street View camera vehicles were located.
Attorneys general in about 30 states filed suit on behalf of their residents, when many claimed that Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) not only accessed passwords and e-mails with their Street View vehicles as they passed through unsecured Wi-fi networks, but the company had actually collected and stored the information. Google admitted as much without much of a fight. As a result of a settlement, Google has agreed to pay $7 million in fines for collecting hte information – though the company maintained it didn’t break any local or state laws – and the states have agreed to split he money.
Final details of the settlement have yet to be resolved, though the official announcement of the settlement is expected next week. This settlement follows up a $25,000 fine issued by the Federal Trade Commission regarding the data collection and some obstruction charges against Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), which had apparently tried to hamper the investigation of the allegations.
There is no word about how many passwords were collected and how many Wi-fi users were impacted by this collection. What do you think? Should Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) have been impacted by this, or is this just an experience to open up awareness of the consequences of unsecured Wi-fi? Let us know your thought about this case in the comments section below.
DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.
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