South Korean Police Find Google Violated Privacy Laws

    January 6, 2011

Five months ago, local police officers raided Google’s offices in South Korea, and what they found may cause quite a lot of trouble for the company.  A police report’s indicated that Google illegally collected private data with its Street View cars, and criminal charges could result.

The fact that Google recorded emails and passwords sent over WiFi networks shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point; Google admitted it in October after other experts came to the same conclusion.  Also, this isn’t the first time authorities said the act violated privacy laws.

Korean police aren’t too eager to just accept Google’s apology and promise to do better, however.

An unidentified police official told the Korea Herald, "We are looking to penalize whoever ordered and developed the program . . ."

GoogleThat could represent a serious PR problem for Google.  Having its engineers or execs identified as criminals would direct new attention to a problem that’s otherwise drifted out of the spotlight.  And any convictions would obviously be even worse.

But here’s something else the police official said – something that Google’s lawyers might be celebrating: "Even after we confirm the identity of the suspect, we believe it will most likely be a U.S. citizen, and it is unclear whether the Korean Police Agency can prosecute those involved."