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Google reported to Australian police

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Sunday June 6, 2010 )

I wonder if Google founders Serge and Larry ever envisioned this happening as they were tinkering away in a garage in the 90’s on their search engine. The Australian Federal Government has requested the Australian Federal Police investigate Google in related to alleged privacy breaches.

According to an ABC news report, Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland stated his office has received a number of complaints that relate to possible breaches of the Telecommunications Interception Act and he has referred the issue to the AFP.

The complaints reportedly stem from an incident where Street View cars Google uses for taking photos for Google Maps were also collecting information from residential wireless networks about people’s surfing habits. Google says the collection was accidental and stopped as soon as they became aware of the issue.

Google has copped a lot of heat over the issue, with related litigation occurring in several US states. The company has also been ordered by a US federal judge to provide copies of all data collected during the mishap.

Australia’s minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy, Stephen Conroy, blasted the company and Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt over the incident, saying it’s approach was “creepy” and that the search engine considered itself above government. He also said Google deliberately gathered the information.

Senator Conroy and Google locking horns is nothing new – Google has been critical of the Australian Government’s planned mandatory Internet filter; Senator Conroy’s pet project.

An amusing tidbit – I visited Senator Conroy’s site to get some background on the story. I used his site’s search engine and guess what it was powered by… Google :).

He might want to look into that.


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