So a company whose revenue from last year was about $50 billion is about to reach a $7 million USD settlement with state attorneys general of 30 US states for wardriving. An activity where the company was able to capture user data from private wireless networks.
No one is officially calling it wardriving, but that was what Google was doing with its Street View vehicles. Those vehicles, usually compact cars fitted with elaborate, high-tech cameras, gobbled up private data as they drove down neighborhood streets.
And the wardriving activity was not just here in the US, but also in a few countries in Europe. According to a report in The Washington Post, the company blamed on a “rogue engineer” “for activating the wireless collection system on cars that were supposed to take photographs for Google.” What were the “wireless collection system” doing in the cars in the first place?
For that, they get off with what amounts to a slap on the wrist, because $7 million USD is nothing to Google. That amount does not send any real message. It’s in the same category as the fine that Microsoft received from the EU competition commission.