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Hawaii Part of Google Street View Settlement

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) announced today that Hawaii joined 37 states and the District of Columbia in a $7 million settlement with Internet giant Google over its collection of data from unsecured wireless networks nationwide while taking photographs for its Street View service between 2008 and March 2010.

Wanna Street View Race?

Wanna Street View Race?

Google’s Street View cars were equipped with antennae and open-source software that the company acknowledged collected network identification information for use in future geolocation services. At the same time, Google collected and stored data frames and other “payload data” being transmitted over those unsecured business and personal wireless networks.

While Google represented it was unaware the payload data was being collected, the agreement of voluntary compliance it signed with the states acknowledged that the information may have included URLS of requested Web pages, partial or complete email communications, and any confidential or private information being transmitted to or from the network user while the Street View cars were driving by.

“This hard-fought settlement was the result of nearly two years of negotiations,” said Bruce Kim, Executive Director of the Office of Consumer Protection. “It is a fair resolution of the states’ complaints and it recognizes the privacy rights of individuals whose information was collected without their consent.”

Hawaii’s share of the settlement is $106,179.

Google has since disabled or removed the equipment and software used to collect the payload data from its Street View vehicles and agreed not to collect any additional information without notice and consent.

The information collected was segregated and secured, and under terms of the agreement, will be destroyed as soon as legally practicable. Further, Google agreed that the payload data was not used, and will not be used, in any product or service, and that the information collected in the United States was not disclosed to a third party.

The Google Street View Car inside Wailoa State Park

The Google Street View Car inside Wailoa State Park

Other key elements of the agreement require Google to run an employee training program about privacy and confidentiality of user data and continue the program for at least 10 years. It must also conduct a public service advertising campaign to help educate consumers about steps they may take to better secure their personal information while using wireless networks.

The executive committee that negotiated the settlement included the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri and Texas. Connecticut was the lead state.

Other states participating in the settlement are: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

Lisa Tong, a senior attorney in the Office of Consumer Protection, represented the State in the investigation.

View the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance on the OCP website: http://hawaii.gov/dcca/ocp/news-releases

 

 

Is the County of Hawaii Website Collecting Personal Data From Folks?

Recently, the County of Hawaii changed the look of it website and with it lost a few sites that I liked to visit like the Department of Finance, Purchasing Division, and Professional Services Awarded website.

According the Hawaii Tribune:

“It’s a work in progress,” Tsuchiya said. “We do have some work to do to make sure all the information on the previous site is there.”

The site still has a lot to improve before it becomes what I would consider a user friendly and valuable service to the public website.

The thing that kind of concerns me as a person that doesn’t believe the government should be compiling internet data of residents of that our in there districts is the privacy statement on the website and some of the statements said there:

Thank you for visiting the County of Hawaii web site. This web site is provided as a public service. You can visit our home site without telling us who you are or revealing any personal information about yourself. We do not sell, exchange, or otherwise make available information gathered by our site to others.

My question then would be… what type of information is being gathered? Further down on the privacy statement it says:

We may gather certain non-personal data from web site visits that will enable us to later determine usage trends such as which pages are visited most often, what hours of day experience the greatest use, session duration, etc. None of this information identifies you personally. We use the information in aggregate only to enable us to improve our web site and make it more informative.

So as you see it states allegedly that “None of this information identifies you personally“… but then if you read all the way down at the very bottom of the privacy statement you get this statement:

Should a situation arise where we are required by law or legal process to provide information that we may have about you, we must cooperate.

So I guess I don’t really have too much personally to worry about… but is there really a reason for Hawaii County’s Website to be collecting any data on people in general?