2010/08/17

Spanish judge probes complaint over Google's Street View

MADRID, August 16, 2010 (AFP) - A judge in Spain is to investigate a complaint that Google captured data from Internet users when it collected photos for its Street View service, the association that filed the suit said Monday.

Judge Raquel Fernandino summoned a legal representative of Google in Spain to appear before her in October over the suit, said an association promoting the rights of Internet users, APEDANICA.

The complaint alleged Google collected data from users connected to Wi-Fi networks which it subsequently stored.

Google's Street View provides pictures of real-world moments at spots around the world. But it has sparked concerns over the possible of erosion of privacy.

Google revealed earlier this year that electronics in its picture-taking vehicles captured data from wireless Internet systems not secured by passwords.

The company has apologised repeatedly for what it called an accidental data grab, but authorities in more than a dozen countries are investigating whether the company broke privacy laws.

Fernandino has asked Spanish police to provide her with information on "the tools used for the capturing of data" as well as the destination of such data and the number of users affected.

The head of Google Spain, Marisa Toro, told the Spanish daily El Mundo that the company cooperates "in all countries with institutions and judicial authorities to answer any questions they have.

"Our ultimate goal is to remove the data in accordance with our legal obligations and in consultation with the relevant authorities," she said.