Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Google Office in Seoul Raided by Police

I do not think anyone should be surprised by this anymore.  If you own a smart phone or tablet, then your service provider and the government knows where you are at all times and everything that you do on that device.  The information exists, and corporations and governments cannot help themselves but collect and exploit that information.

Last week a class action lawsuit was filed against Apple for their location tracking technology in the iphone.  Another class action lawsuit has also been filed against Google for their location tracking technology in the Android phone.  South Korea is following up on this information and made a visit to Google South Korea's main office in Seoul.

SEOUL (MarketWatch) -- South Korean police raided Google Inc.'s local office on Tuesday as part of an investigation into whether the U.S. search giant's local unit has been illegally collecting individuals' private location data through its mobile advertising platform. 
The police said it is looking into allegations that Google's AdMob platform was used to illegally collect private data about people's geographical locations. It didn't elaborate. 
A Google Korea spokeswoman confirmed that the police visited the Seoul unit to investigate how cellphones and tablets that run on Google's Android operating system collect information about users' location. 
"Google will fully cooperate with the investigation," the spokeswoman said. 
In November 2009, Google purchased mobile advertising start-up AdMob Inc. for $750 million as part of a push to extend its dominance in Internet advertising to mobile phones. 
Tuesday's police action is the latest in a number of investigations of Google in South Korea to determine whether the company has broken local regulations. 
South Korea is the most wired country on the planet and has some of the most complicated and strict internet enforcement and privacy laws.  South Korean internet police have already picked fights with Youtube and Facebook.  They aren't scared to go after Google either.
In August last year, the National Police Agency launched an investigation into whether the U.S. company collected and stored private information illegally while it prepared for the South Korean launch of its "Street View" mapping service, which provides panoramic views of streets for Internet users. 
Separately, two South Korean search portals--Naver and Daum Communications Corp. (035720.KQ) -- filed a complaint last month with the country's Fair Trade Commission against Google for allegedly limiting their access to Android smartphones. 
No further announcements have been made by regulators about the status of these investigations, which Google Korea has said it will co-operate with. In the latter case the company has said Android is an open platform and carrier partners are free to decide which applications and services to include on their Android phones. Google also told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday that neither the policy agency nor the antitrust regulator has further contacted the company about these issues. 
The latest probe into Google came just a few days after South Korea's telecommunication regulator, the Korea Communications Commission, said it sent a list of inquiries to Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) Korea unit to clarify how it collects location data from iPhone and iPad users, reflecting concerns about the collection and storage of private information gathered from smartphones and tablet devices.


jjj_alltheway said...

I'd bet Naver would be interested in some of the information the police gather from Google and I wouldn't put it past the police to oblige, for a fee.

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