Google Inc. is close to announcing an agreement to pay about $7 million to settle allegations that the company improperly collected personal data for its Street View product, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
The company has reached an agreement in principle with more than 30 states, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The resolution could be announced as early as next week, another person said.
Google is seeking to resolve disputes over a feature that weaves photographic images of homes, buildings and neighborhoods into online maps. During a three-year period starting 2007, the company improperly gathered “sensitive personal information,” including e-mail and text messages, passwords and Web-use history, the Federal Communications Commission said last year.
Google, owner of the world’s largest search engine, has been grappling with scrutiny by government officials around the world over how it handles private information. The FCC fined Google $25,000 last year for not cooperating with an investigation into the company’s collection of the data.
Jill Hazelbaker, a spokeswoman for Mountain View, California-based Google, declined to comment.
Google said in May 2010 that it would stop using Wi-Fi information for Street View, which displays pictures of streets on Google Maps. At the time, the company said that it had collected the information by mistake.
The settlement with states could involve money or changes to the feature or how the data is collected, or some combination of these.
Google slipped less than 1 percent to $829.67 as of 3:04 p.m. in New York. The stock had climbed 18 percent this year through yesterday.
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