Conn. won’t seek data in Google privacy probe

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted Jan. 28 at 2:22 p.m.

Connecticut’s attorney general said Friday that Google Inc.¬† won’t have to hand over user data it collected from unsecured wireless networks as part of his office’s probe of the Internet giant’s privacy snafu.

Atty. Gen. George Jepsen said his office reached a deal with the Internet company that allows him to begin settlement negotiations over whether Google violated state law.

Last month Google rejected a subpoena issued by Jepsen’s predecessor, Richard Blumenthal, to hand over data the company collected when its Street View cars were within range of unsecured Internet hotspots.

Google’s worldwide fleet of Street View cars for years collected images of streets¬† used in the company’s online mapping service. But they also scanned for wireless networks to beef up certain mobile-device applications that help pinpoint the location of users. In some cases the cars inadvertently collected personal information such as e-mail addresses and passwords, Google said last year.

As part of the deal with Connecticut, Google said it wouldn’t contest the fact that its Street View cars had collected private user information including URLs of requested Web pages, partial or complete e-mail communications or other information in 2008 and 2009, according to Jepsen.

A Google spokeswoman reiterated the company’s statements that it is “profoundly sorry” for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted wireless networks.

“As soon as we realized what had happened, we stopped collecting all Wi-Fi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities,” she said. “We did not want and have never used the payload data in any of our products and services. We want to delete this data as soon as possible and will continue to work with the authorities to determine the best way forward, as well as to answer their further questions and concerns.”

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