Google raided by police on privacy violations

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Google raided by police on privacy violations

Police raided the offices of Google Korea yesterday on suspicions that the Korean unit of the Internet search giant Google Inc. violated the country’s communication privacy protection law.

“We obtained a search warrant after we found evidence that, while Google Korea was creating Google Street View, it collected individuals’ information from wireless networks without seeking their permission,” said an investigator at the anti-cyberterrorism team of the National Police Agency.

Sixteen investigators dispatched to Google Korea headquarters in Yeoksam, southern Seoul, yesterday morning confiscated computer hard disks and documents. The search ended at 5 p.m.

Police plan to summon Google Korea officials who are responsible for the project after they finish examining the confiscated materials.

Australian and German police have launched similar investigations into Google for violating privacy laws when the company has gathered information for Google Street View in those countries.

Google Street View is a popular feature that offers panoramic views of street scenes in many cities around the world.

Google initially launched the service in May 2007 for several cities in the United States and later expanded coverage to include other global cities.

In Asia, Street View is currently available in some areas of Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

Google’s mapping service has been controversial as critics have argued that the search engine company does not pay enough attention to privacy issues when it collects data, which can include information gathered from public Wi-Fi networks.


By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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