MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 13 (UPI) -- U.S. Internet firm Google has been cited for privacy violations in 12 different countries, the Electronic Privacy Information Center said.
Google, which agreed on Tuesday to pay $7 million to 38 U.S. states to settle privacy violation charges, has been judged to be in violation of laws in nine of those cases, MarketWatch reported Wednesday.
The settlement in the United States also calls for Google to destroy the information it says it inadvertently collected in creation of its Street View mapping program. The company also agreed to train its personnel on the issue of privacy.
The controversy revolved around cars Google sent through neighborhoods to collect data for its Street View service, which is a mapping program that uses eye-level, panoramic photographs of streets to provide a continuous visual image of locations.
The cars, however, were outfitted with equipment that could raid unsecured Wi-Fi networks and harvest personal information from private computers.
"The project leaders never wanted this data, and didn't use it or even look at it," Google said in a statement.
"We work hard to get privacy right at Google. But in this case we didn't," the company said.