Oklahoma Among States Receiving Money From Google Maps Lawsuit

Wednesday, March 13th 2013, 5:01 pm

Google admits to collecting private information from residents as they took pictures for their Google Maps street view and has agreed to pay a multi-million dollar settlement to the states participating in the lawsuit, including Oklahoma.

Prosecutors say when Google was driving through neighborhoods those vehicles weren't just taking pictures, but also collecting personal information from Wireless networks.

Gina Gelso is a realtor and does most of her work from home. And although she never sends personal client information over the web, she does plenty of work online.

"I do everything anyone else can do in their pajamas from home. The internet is very valuable and I have my iPad that I do wireless with at all times," said Gelso.

But if she was home working when the Google Street View Car drove past, the company collected everything she was sending out through her wireless network.

"Sometimes payment information, sometimes email communication URL's that are being used by homeowners," explained Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt.

Oklahoma is one of 37 states plus the District of Columbia that sued Google over the collection of the data.

"We had individuals in Oklahoma that did in fact suffer from the practice," said Pruitt.

And on Tuesday, Pruitt announced a settlement in the case. Seven million dollars will be divided between all the states who participated. But more so, Pruitt says, the settlement recognizes the privacy rights of individuals whose information was collected without their permission.

"So this negotiation was all about privacy, all about making sure that Google stopped that practice and acknowledged they had that data," said Pruitt.

As part of the settlement, Google has agreed not to use the data they collected and destroy it as soon as possible. Google also has to start informing customers how they can protect their information from this very thing.