South Korea Google Offices Raided in Street View Investigation

August 11, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

[ South Korean Police Raid Google Korea ]

Visitors sit on a bench at a lobby of an office of Google Korea in Seoul on August 11. South Korean police searched the offices of Google Korea to investigate whether it breached privacy law in collecting information for its Street View service. (Park Ji Hwan/Getty Iamges )
Visitors sit on a bench at a lobby of an office of Google Korea in Seoul on August 11. South Korean police searched the offices of Google Korea to investigate whether it breached privacy law in collecting information for its Street View service. (Park Ji Hwan/Getty Iamges )
South Korean police raided the offices of Google Inc. in Seoul in the latest probe into the Internet giant’s controversial “Street View” mapping service.

Police suspect the company of illegally collecting personal data while taking pictures for Street View, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Google is currently being investigated by 37 U.S. states and informally by the Federal Trade Commission for the Street View service, according to Reuters.

Google sends its Street View cars down streets around to globe taking 360 degree photos of the streets for Internet viewers to access. Google was heavily criticized for also simultaneously collecting personal data from unsecured WiFi connections.

In testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on July 27, Dr. Alma Whitten, Google's privacy engineering lead, said the company had, "mistakenly included code in the software on [Google's] Street View cars that collected samples of WiFi 'payload data' – information sent over a WiFi network – from open (unencrypted) WiFi networks."

Several months earlier, when the accusations first came out, Google's senior vice presidents of engineering Alan Eustace stated on the company's official blog, “We are profoundly sorry for this error and are determined to learn all the lessons we can from our mistake.”

Despite the controversy and international criticism, Google says it still plans to launch the mapping service in Germany, but it will allow residents to apply to have their homes blocked out of the service, according to a report by Der Spiegel August 11.