Australia launches police investigation into Google security breach

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Australia's attorney general has called for a police investigation of Google's collection of Wifi data by Street View cars.

"In light of concerns having been raised by the public, my department thought there were issues of substance that were raised that require police investigation," Robert McClelland told AP.

He said the investigation into the company and some unnamed employees will center on whether Google's actions breached the Telecommunications Interceptions Act, which prohibits the interception of electronic communications except for authorised purposes.

The offence carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail.

Google's Street View cars have already been banned in Australia, and the country's privacy commissioner is preparing a report on the security breach. Last month, communications minister Stephen Conroy called it the "single greatest breach in the history of privacy".

It's not popular with the Australian authorities anyway, which are close to introducing a strict internet filter, which Google claims amounts to censorship.

The company is also already under investigation in Germany for the Street View data gathering.