With Street View, Google hopes to provide an extensive geographical database, a platform for navigation, search relevancy, and of course, advertising. In this process, while it collected and created information to make “bits where before there were none”, Google says it inadvertently gathered unsecured data over WiFi networks in over 30 countries...While Google has taken steps to work with regulators, promising to destroy the data, everyone was not appeased. Litigation and investigation broke out all over the world, and now, South Korea has decided to order a criminal probe over the incident, seeking to ascertain what data Google actually has in its possession, or if it broke any laws collecting it.
In response, the Korean National Police Agency raided Google’s Korea headquarters yesterday, led by Cyber Terror Response Center. A statement issued by the taskforce said: “We intend to find out what kinds of data they have collected and how much. We will try to retrieve all the original data illegally collected and stored through domestic Wi-Fi networks from the Google headquarters...We will investigate Google Korea officials and scrutinize the data we confiscated today”
Google HQ has confirmed the raid on their offices in response to the Street View incident, and has said that it would fully cooperate with the investigation. Maintaining that the data collection/theft had been unintentional, Google announced yesterday that it is seeking to launch the Street View service in 20 of the largest Germany cities by the end of this year. The news only brought fresh friction from privacy advocates in the country, some of whom liken it to spying, attributing motives similar to the East German Stasi and the Nazi Gestapo.
The announcement came with the assurance that residents who had concerns about their privacy could ask for the images of their property removed from Street View. While this attempt to dispel worries is laudable, Google did not earn brownie-points when it also stipulated a four-week deadline by when residents will have to make their objections formal. So far however, there are still some countries that haven’t launched themselves quite so uproariously into the debate, and the governments of Ireland, Norway, South Africa, and Sweden given the company clearance.