AUSTIN – Texas, 37 other states and the District of Columbia today resolved their lengthy investigation into Google Inc.’s collection of personal information – including e-mail and search histories — from unsecured wireless routers at private residences and businesses. Although Google initially denied that its Street View vehicles were retrieving this private information, the Mountain View, Calif.-based conglomerate subsequently acknowledged that it had mistakenly engaged in this practice.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said Google violated Texans’ privacy rights and used vehicles to secretly collect information from unprotected wireless routers.
“Today’s agreement requires Google to destroy any personal data that was improperly collected and imposes important new privacy protections that govern the Street View program going forward,” Abbott said in the statement.
Google’s data collection effort was tied to its Street View project, which was designed to enhance its Google Maps platform by deploying a fleet of vehicles nationwide to photograph residences, businesses and other improvements in municipal neighborhoods, a press release said.
The vehicles were also outfitted with specialized data collection devices which scanned and stored payload data from wireless networks that were not password protected.
Initially, Google maintained that no emails, Web search histories or other personal information was being collected by Street View vehicles – and that the collected information was limited to data that merely identified the existence and location of a wireless network.
State investigators say they later determined Google did collect private information as it was transmitted over unencrypted WiFi networks for two years.
Although information transmitted on these wireless networks was collected from 2010 to 2012, Google initially said that it had not intended to collect and store network users’ private payload data.
Under today’s agreement, Google must pay $7 million and comply with following requirements:
• Destroy the “payload data” it collected.
• Notify network users and obtain their consent before using its Street View vehicles to collect any additional “payload data.”
• Implement an employee training program that highlights network users’ privacy and maintain the training program for the next 10 years; and
• Develop a public service campaign to educate network users about how to better secure their personal information while they are using wireless networks.
Cooke County United Way purchases Colton building
The board of directors of Cooke County United Way announced Tuesday the purchase of the former Gerald Colton building located at 114 East Main Street in downtown Gainesville.
Gainesville Fire-Rescue goes Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
In addition to responding to fire and emergency calls, Gainesville Firefighters are answering the call to support the fight against breast cancer by wearing pink in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Era plans National 4-H Week activities
The Era 4-H Club is preparing to observe 4-H Week this week. The Era 4-H Club held registration in August under leaders Denise Pearse, Billie Paschal, and Kristie Hellinger.
Depot Days event a highlight of National 4-H Week festivities
During National 4-H Week, Cooke County’s 4-H is recruiting new members to participate in the many educational experiences available. These clubs allow youth to immerse themselves not only in volunteering activities that support the communities of Cooke County, but also leadership roles that help teach confidence and self-awareness, and aid in the learning of important life skills. If you want to join, contact the Extension Office at or email Phyllis Griffin at email@example.com.
Acclaimed granite sculptor to teach workshop
ARDMORE, Okla. — The Goddard Center will offer a four day granite sculpting workshop taught by National Medal of Arts recipient, Jesús Moroles. The workshop will meet on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12 and 13 and again on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26 and 27. Participants studying under Moroles will learn to saw, shape, chisel, and grind granite over 4-day period to carve their own unique artwork. Beginners, ages 16 and above, are welcome.
Muenster FCCLA elects officers
Muenster’s chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) kicked-off the new school year with the election of the 2013-2014 chapter officers and the installation meeting held Sept. 20.
Lions Club hears from Camp Sweeney director
A veteran of 23 years as business director for Cooke County’s Camp Sweeney for diabetic children ages four to 19, Billie Hood spoke at the recent Lion’s Club meeting Wednesday regarding the recent 64th anniversary of the camp.
Two new horticulture programs offered at NCTC
GAINESVILLE – The North Central Texas College Horticulture department will be offering two new degree plans starting this fall.
Alex Cord continues to nurture writing skills
Cooke County resident Alex Cord, renowned actor and writer, has a new book out entitled “Days of the Harbinger” which is receiving five star ratings from those who have been first in line to get a copy.
TxDot: Heavy traffic taking a toll on highways
AUSTIN - Recognizing a growing traffic safety concern in the state’s energy-production areas, the Texas Transportation Commission recently approved $225 million for much-needed road work resulting from the state’s oil and gas boom.
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