Google admitted it has violated people’s privacy with its Street View mapping project, by scooping up e-mail, passwords and other personal information from unsuspecting persons.
Niki Fenwick, a Google spokeswoman, said on Tuesday that “we work hard to get privacy right at Google, but in this case we didn’t, which is why we quickly tightened up our systems to address the issue.”
The case was brought by 38 states, which were involved in this project, and by agreeing to settle this case Google is required not only to publicly tell people how to fend off privacy violations similar to this one, but also to aggressively police its own employees on privacy issues. Google critics believe that this settlement, which also included a $7 million fine, was not enough for what they consider a serial violator of privacy.
“Google puts innovation ahead of everything and resists asking permission,” said Scott Cleland, a consultant for Google’s competitors and a consumer watchdog. “But the states are throwing down a marker that they are watching and there is a line the company shouldn’t cross.”
Maybe Google has managed to settle this case, but another major one is round the corner regarding the privacy battle over Google Glass, the wearable computer in the form of glasses.