Google was probably not jealous that Apple has been getting more of the attention regarding location tracking these days. But today, Google is receiving some international press. Reuters reports that Google’s offices in Seoul, South Korea were raided and searched for “illegally collected location data.”
A South Korean police official is quoted as saying, “We suspect AdMob collected person location information without consent or approval from the Korean Communication Commission.” Google completed its acquisition of mobile ad network AdMob back in May of 2010.
Location tracking has been quite the issue in the States for the last few weeks. First, tech researchers found a hidden file in iOS devices that tracked users’ location data for around one year. The file is completely unencrypted and it duplicated on any computer with which you sync your device.
Apple responded recently and said that the length of time that the file keeps records is a bug. Just yesterday it was reported that the new version if iOS, 4.3.3, will fix these “bugs.”
Google was then implicated in tracking-gate as it was revealed that Android devices were collecting location data quite frequently and transmitting it back to Google along with a “unique phone identifier.” So much for anonymity.
The only response from Google so far on the South Korea raid is that the company is cooperating with the investigation.
This isn’t Google’s first scuffle with South Korea either.
Their offices were previously raided for street view data that was said to have violated privacy laws in the country. Last month, South Korea also hit Google with antitrust allegations. Google quickly responded, ensuring that Android is a completely open platform.