"Google's $13 million settlement of a privacy lawsuit stemming from data collection by Street View cars moved forward [October 9th], when U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco granted the deal preliminary approval. The agreement calls for the company to pay around $10 million to nonprofits that promise to use the money to promote online privacy... The deal also requires Google to destroy some data collected by its Street View cars, and to refrain from using Street View cars to collect or store personal data for at least five years... If granted final approval by Breyer, the settlement will resolve a lawsuit dating to 2010 over revelations that Google's Street View cars collected a host of data -- including URLs, passwords and emails -- sent over unencrypted WiFi networks."
So, this lawsuit has been underway for almost 10 years. Gizmodo provided important historical details:
"... when Google started deploying its little Street View cars around our neighborhoods, the company also ended up collecting about 600 GB of emails, passwords, and other payload data from unencrypted wifi networks in over 30 countries. In a 2010 blog, Google said the data collection was a “mistake” after a German data protection group asked to audit the data collected by the cars... The basis for the class-action lawsuit was that Google was basically infringing on federal wiretapping laws. Google had argued in a separate case on the same issue, Joffe vs Google, that its “mistake” was legal, as unencrypted wifi are a form of radio communication and thereby, readily accessible by the general public. The courts did not agree, and in 2013 ruled Google’s defense was bunk."
Good historical detail. Regular readers of this blog may remember this Google apology to Australia in 2010.
Last, don't cry for Google. The proposed settlement amount is tiny compared to Google's $136.96 billion in sales during 2018.