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South Korea raids Google over Street View

South Korean police search Google offices to see if the Web giant illegally collected user data while prepping to launch its Street View service.

South Korean police raided Google's offices Tuesday to see whether the company broke local laws by collecting user data in kicking off its Street View service in the country.

Google Maps and Wi-Fi

The Korean National Police Agency confirmed the probe of the search giant in a statement sent to Reuters and other news sources.

"[The police] have been investigating Google Korea LLC on suspicion of unauthorized collection and storage of data on unspecified Internet users from Wi-Fi networks," the agency said in the statement. "We began the probe after having confirmed that the company seized and kept open data as well as unauthorized private communication data collected by its special data-collecting vehicles."

The agency added that Google specifically kept information on users grabbed through Wi-Fi networks for around six months until May, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

On its end, Google has acknowleged the probe.

"We can confirm that the police have visited Google Korea in conjunction with their investigation around data collection by Street View cars. We will cooperate with the investigation and answer any questions they have," Lois Kim, a Google Korea spokeswoman, said in a statement sent to CNET.

Google has been facing a host of lawsuits and government investigations after it revealed that its Street View service had inadvertantly collected information from Wi-Fi networks as it traveled various landscapes snapping photos. The company has maintained that it did nothing illegal since the data collection was done accidentally and without its knowledge or intent.

Despite the uproar, Google recently announced that Street View was again hitting the road in Ireland, Norway, South Africa, and Sweden after getting clearance from the governments in those countries.