Police storm the offices of Google Korea

Posted by Mark Raby

National Police Agency officers in South Korea today raided Google office space in the country to find evidence that the search giant was illegally storing private user information.

It's the kind of thing that some people wish would happen in the US, as concern over online  privacy continues to grow.

Specifically at issue in Korea is whether or not Google was storing unauthorized information about local residents as it prepares to roll out Google Street View in the country.

"We began the probe after having confirmed that the company seized and kept open data as well as unauthorized private communication data collected by its special data-collecting vehicles," said the agency in statement, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Google confirmed that it "inadvertently" picked up unsecured data over Wi-Fi networks while combing through the streets of South Korea, but that it had no illegal of malice intent.

The company said in an official response, "We can confirm that the police have visited Google Korea in conjunction with their investigation around data collection by Street View cars. We will cooperate with the investigation and answer any questions they have."

Neither Google nor the NPA said what evidence, if any, was collected at the scene, and there have been no official charges filed. However, if nothing else it is a wake up call to Google that it needs to be more careful when it starts snooping around to collect information.