Feeds

Google's Wi-Fi sniffing to result in $7 million fine

Slurp sparks states' slight slap

The essential guide to IT transformation

Google is reportedly close to settling with the 30 US states that were pursuing it over the infamous StreetView Wifi data slurp.

In between practicing taking the decision seriously in public, there are probably fits of giggles breaking out in Google's boardroom, because according to Reuters, the proposed settlement is $US7 million.

That's a sum that's not even going to make lawyers rich, and based on its 2012 revenue of $US50 billion, it's about 1 hour, 13.5 minutes of the Chocolate Factory's income.

Google had already had a $US25,000 tickle from the FCC for stalling the probe the regulator launched, which ended with the regulator unable to determine whether any US federal laws were broken.

The states' action was led by Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal, and was launched in 2010.

The settlement proposal was unconfirmed at the time of writing, with Blumenthal's office merely telling All Things D that the investigation is “active and ongoing”.

For those that need a recap: in 2010, Google discovered that enterprising engineer Marius Milner had written code that captured not only the location of open WiFi hotspots, but also some of the traffic, on the basis that “it might be useful”. The data had been captured for three years before the sniffing was "discovered".

Investigations were launched in a number of countries, with varying outcomes. Or example, Britain eventually decided to clear Google, Australia attacked it with a wet lettuce, and France imposed a fine of €100,000.

Consumer Watchdog is upset at the rumoured deal, calling the $US7 million settlement “measly”: “Once again it looks like Google, the serial privacy violator, is buying it's way out of a jam with what for the Internet giant is pocket change,” its John Simpson wrote. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.