South Korean police raid Google's office over Street View

South Korea is the lastest country to launch an investigation into Google's collection of Wi-Fi data

South Korean police on Tuesday raided Google offices in an investigation of the company's Street View mapping project, the latest instance of a country scrutinizing the company's collection of Wi-Fi data

The Korean National Police said in a statement that they have launched an investigation into unauthorized data collection and illegal wiretapping.

Google officials in London confirmed the raid. "We will cooperate with the investigation and answer any questions they have," the company said in a statement.

The investigation comes as Google has resumed collecting Street View imagery in several countries after facing queries from regulators in others over the program.

Following a request for an audit by German data protection authorities in Hamburg, Google admitted in May that it had collected information such as SSID (Service Set Identifier) and MAC (Media Access Control) addresses from unencrypted Wi-Fi routers.

The admission started a spate of inquiries into the program in other countries including France, Italy, the U.K., the U.S., and Spain. The investigation in Germany is ongoing.

The company, while admitting the data collection was a mistake, said it only collected fragments of personal Web traffic as its Wi-Fi equipment automatically changed channels five times a second, although Wi-Fi networks can carry several megabytes of data per second.

The Wi-Fi data collection software since been removed from the vehicles collecting imagery, the company has said. Google resumed collecting Street View imagery last month in Ireland, Norway, South Africa and Sweden and in the U.K. last week.

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Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
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