Australia calls in the cops over Google Wi-Fi data
Australian police have been asked to investigate internet giant Google over possible breaches of telecommunications privacy laws.
The investigation follows complaints from members of the public about activities of Google employees while taking photographs for Google Maps, the search engine’s maps page.
The Street View service has recently come under fire in several countries. The company has said it inadvertently picked up personal data from some unencrypted Wi-Fi routers over several years.
Google said it would cooperate with the Australia police investigation.
“On Friday the attorney-general’s department did refer those allegations and those reports to the Australian Federal Police,” said Australia’s attorney general, Robert McClelland. “They relate in substantial part to possible breaches of the Telecommunications Interceptions Act, which prevents people accessing electronic communications other than for authorised purposes.”
Senior company executive Alan Eustace said last month the company had mistakenly collected personal data from Wi-Fi networks, and ordered a halt to the practice. However, he said this only involved unencrypted Wi-Fi hotspots, and none of the data was used in Google products.
A Google spokeswoman said on Sunday the company had made an error.
“This was a mistake. We are talking to the appropriate authorities to answer any questions they have,” she said in a brief written statement.