Aussie police probe Google data breach

Nicole McCormick
07 Jun 2010

Australian police have begun investigating Google over the collection of private data by its Street View vehicles.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland asked the Australian Federal Police (AFP) on Friday to investigate the breach of privacy allegations against Google and some of its employees, said the Australian.

Google could be found to be in violation of Australia’s Telecommunications Interception Act, which prohibits the access of unauthorized electronic communications. Serious breaches of the act could lead to three years’ jail time.

"There have been some complaints voiced . . . by the public in respect to [Street View],” McClelland said. “Obviously these things require investigation.”

News of the police inquiry follows the attack on the company last week by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, who described Google’s collection of unsecured data from home Wi-Fi networks as possibly the “largest privacy breach in history across Western democracies.”

Google has been a vocal critic of Conroy’s proposed internet filtering scheme, which requires Australian ISPs to block out content according to a government-created blacklist.

Australia is the second country so far to investigate the Street View. The German police are also looking into whether Google’s collection of private data via Wi-Fi, while the US FCC is weighing an inquiry.

Google says it has begun handing over to European regulators the data it intercepted from private Wi-Fi internet connections, ending a standoff with German privacy authorities.

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said that the Internet giant intended to disclose data to privacy authorities in Germany, France and Spain, reported.

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