Wed, May 04, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Google raided by S Korean police in phone data probe


A policeman carries a box containing goods confiscated from Google Inc’s office in Seoul yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Google Inc said South Korean police searched its Seoul office as part of a probe into whether the company illegally collected location data from Android smartphone users in the country.

The police began searching the office in the morning, Lois Kim, a Seoul-based spokeswoman for Google, said by telephone, without elaborating. The company will “diligently” cooperate with the police, she said. Five calls to the police department weren’t answered.

Google and Apple Inc, facing scrutiny from consumers and US lawmakers over the collection of data on smartphones, have agreed to testify at a US Senate hearing on Tuesday about consumer privacy on mobile devices. Two Android phone users in the US sued Google last month over claims their phones secretly recorded and stored data about their movements.

Google lets Android phone users decide whether they want to use services tracking location information, Kim said.

Daum Communications Corp, owner of South Korea’s second-largest online search engine, said the police also searched its office yesterday to investigate the company’s collection of data from mobile phones, spokesman Lee Yong-wook said by telephone.

The Korea Communications Commission investigated Apple to determine if the company is breaking the law by saving location data of iPhone users, the regulator said on Monday last week.

Google’s Seoul office was raided by the police in August last year as part of an investigation into possible breaches of privacy laws resulting from the company’s collection of wireless Internet data while preparing its Street View mapping service.

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