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Google admints to have breached privacy in Drive-By data collection

Google Street View mapping car

Google has had to fight a lot of privacy issues in its history. There have been many angry users and general public who have accused the search giant of violating their privacy. But that has taken a major leap as Google has admitted to the State of violating users’ privacy in its Street View mapping project. The company has admitted to have casually scooped up unsuspecting users’ email addresses, passwords, and other personal information.

The case was brought by 38 states, and in an agreement to settle down, the company is supposed to police its own employees, for the first time, on privacy issues. And the company is also supposed to explicitly tell the general public on ways with which they can fend off privacy violations such as this one.

Along with this, the search engine giant is also supposed to pay a fine of $7 million, which is not a big deal for the company, but this definitely marks an event in its history as this is the first time something like this is happening with the company.

“Google puts innovation ahead of everything and resists asking permission,” said Scott Cleland, a consultant and consumer watchdog whose blog maintains a close watch on Google’s privacy issues. “But the states are throwing down a marker that they are watching and there is a line the company shouldn’t cross.”

Mr. Cleland says that this agreement is going to become an issue for Google with its new Google Glass project, which is going to be a serious violator of privacy. If you use Google Glass to record a couple whispering to each other in Starbucks, have you violated their privacy?” he asked. “Well, 38 states just said they have a problem with the unauthorized collection of people’s data.”

Google owning up to the issue is good for the company as it would understand the importance of one’s privacy. What do you think?

Source: The New York Times

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