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Google offices raided over Street View

South Korea investigates Wi-Fi snooping

South Korean police have raided Google offices in an investigation of the company's Street View mapping service, the latest instance of a country scrutinising the company's collection of Wi-Fi data.

The Korean National Police said in a statement that they have launched an investigation into unauthorised 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 programme.

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 programme in other countries including France, Italy, the UK, the US, 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 UK last week.


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