Between 2008 and March 2010 Google scoured the roadsides throughout the country taking pictures for it's "street view" service, part of the "Maps" feature within the Google site.

Well, as that funny looking Google vehicle with the camera on top was driving the streets of your area it was also monitoring unsecured wireless networks, maybe even the router in your home. The data that Google collected is called "payload data."

Google did not admit any wrongdoing, but did admit that some of the collected "information may have included requested Web pages, partial or complete email communications, and private information being transmitted to or from the network user while the Street View cars were driving by.”

This past Tuesday, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills announced that Maine and 37 other states will share a recent $7 million legal settlement.  Maine's share equals out to a little over $106,000, the money will be used to educate consumers about protecting their private information.  Mills also said, "As an industry leader, Google has recognized that collecting personal and private data from an unsuspecting WIFI network user is unacceptable. At the same time, this case is a reminder that people should take steps to protect themselves from unwarranted intrusions of their personal and financial matters.”

Google is no longer collecting payload data with its street view vehicles.

Google Street View of our radio station building here at 49 Acme Road in Brewer