"We suspect AdMob collected personal location information without consent or approval from the Korean Communication Commission," a South Korean police official said in the report. Google has issued a statement that it is fully cooperating with the investigation. South Korea is one of the most technology-forward countries in the world with one of the highest adoption rates of smartphones on the globe.
This is just the latest in the location data drama that has been gaining momentum since April 20 when researchers (including Alasdair Allan and ReadWriteWeb contributor Pete Warden) discovered that iOS devices were tracking and storing user location. Google and Apple are expected to testify before Congress sometime in May over consumer smartphone privacy; individuals have also brought lawsuits as the zealous politicians and lawyers smell an opportunity to make a splash.
AdMob was acquired by Google in November, 2009 for $750 million. The acquisition was approved by the Federal Trade Commission in May, 2010. The potential of location data to mobile advertisers is important as advertising attempts to extend its reach to the most granular level possible to offer consumers deals and location-based services. In and of itself, tracking and storing data location to provide services is may not be a negative to the consumer but the misuse, abuse and security of the data could have significant consequences which has sparked the concerns of consumers, governments and law enforcement.