Google will pay a €7m fine to settle a multi-state investigation into the internet search giant’s interception of emails, passwords and other sensitive information sent several years ago over unprotected wireless networks throughout the world.
The agreement announced today covers 38 states and the District of Columbia.
It closes an inquiry opened in 2010 shortly after Google revealed that company cars taking its Street View photos for its online mapping service also had been grabbing personal data transmitted over Wi-Fi networks that had been set up in homes and businesses without requiring a password to gain access.
It is the largest penalty that Google has paid so far in the US for the snooping. News of the penalty leaked out last week.
Google has not acknowledged any wrongdoing in the settlement.