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Google reaches deal with Connecticut in Wi-Fi probe

January 28, 2011 |  2:45 pm

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Connecticut Atty. Gen. George Jepsen said Friday his office has entered into settlement negotiations with Google over private data its Street View cars collected from unsecured networks there.

As part of the deal, Google acknowledged that its Street View cars gathered information including partial or complete e-mails and addresses of requested Web pages, Jepsen said.

The agreement will allow the Internet search giant and a 40-state coalition led by Connecticut to engage in talks "without the need for a protracted and costly fight in the courts," he said.

Jepsen said he is prepared to file a lawsuit if settlement talks break down.

Connecticut had issued a civil investigative demand, which is similar to a subpoena, to obtain the data Google collected. Google rejected the demand from Connecticut's then-Atty. Gen. Richard Blumenthal.

The Federal Communications Commission said in November it was probing whether Google broke federal law in collecting consumer data via Wi-Fi networks. The Federal Trade Commission closed its investigation of Google's data collection in October.

For years, Google's fleet of Street View cars have compiled images of streets that are displayed in its online mapping service. At the same time, the vehicles scanned wireless networks to better pinpoint the location of users on mobile phones. Google said the vehicles inadvertently collected personal information.

In a statement Friday, Google said it was "profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from encrypted networks."

Consumer Watchdog spokesman John Simpson objected to the settlement talks. 

"The details of the biggest privacy breach in history shouldn't be settled in secret," he said.

RELATED:

Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut's Attorney General, takes legal action to get Street View data from Google

FTC halts investigation of Google's Street View

Google says Street View cars picked up e-mails, passwords; 'we failed badly'

-- Jessica Guynn

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