Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) will pay regulators in several states a nominal fine to settle claims it spied on wireless network users.
The attorneys general of about 30 states have agreed to share $7 million in penalties from the Internet search giant. Google has conceded that beginning in 2007, vehicles taking street level photos for its mapping applications, were tapping unsecured local wireless networks, obtaining and storing email address, passwords and other data as they passed, the Associated Press notes.
Most of the data was gleaned from wireless networks operated by private homeowners and small businesses that lacked password protection. Word of the wireless snooping provoke criticism from both government regulators and privacy advocates. Google apologized for collecting the data, but has consistently maintained that doing so didn’t violate any laws.
Final terms of the settlement, which is expected to be announced next week, have yet to be finalized.
Previously, the company was fined $25,000 by the Federal Trade Commission for collecting the data and attempting to hamper its investigation of the Wi-Fi tapping.
Google is expected to generate revenue in excess of $61 billion in 2013.
Shares of Google rose fractionally in Monday morning trading.