Australia is only the latest country to announce it is officially investigating Google for its collection of personal information. The company used its Google Street View cars to map Wi-Fi locations. However, it collected not just anonymous and aggregated info, but unprotected personal information which may include emails and photographs.
Australian Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland announced today that the Australian Federal Police are investigating Google for a possible breach of the country’s telecommunications interception act.
Since this data collection was first noticed and trumpeted loudly about a month ago, there have been a number of investigations and lawsuits brought against the company. Here is a partial list.
- United States: Class action in the state of Oregon
- United States: Class action lawsuit in state of Massachusetts
- United States: Possible Federal Trade Commission investigation
- Germany: Criminal investigation
- France and Italy: Investigations
- Canada: Privacy commission investigation
Google CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founder Sergei Brin have both apologized, calling the over-collection a “screw up.”
Google has also turned over the data it captured to the European investigators, to be examined in camera. It would be surprising if Australia were the last country to investigate. Google has had previous issues with privacy concerns.