Police raid Google's Seoul office on data concerns

A South Korean flag waves in the breeze

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Bob Moon: Google, meantime, is being investigated by South Korean authorities.
There was a police raid on its offices in Seoul today. It seems the investigation is focused on data collected
during Google's street-mapping sweeps across South Korea. The BBC's John Sudworth joins us with some background on this from the South Korean capital. Good morning.

John Sudworth: Good morning, Bob.

Moon: So why this raid on the Google offices?

Sudworth: Well according to local news reports here, 16 police investigators carried out a search of the Google premises here in Seoul -- a search that lasted several hours, we're told, and during which they seized computer hard discs and other material. It very much looks as if the action is connected to the concerns which you'll be very familiar with, of course, already raised elsewhere about Google's street view service. This is a service which allows users to click on interactive maps, allows them to view 360 photos of certain real locations. And Google has already admitted, of course, that it has mistakenly connected personal information, transmitted over unsecured wireless networks, while gathering and compiling the database. And it looks like this raid is connected to similar concerns here in Korea.

Moon: Has there been any concern raised before now about this Google street view issue?

Sudworth: I mean it's been widely reported here, of course, the concerns in other parts of the world. This is a big market for the Internet, of course, and I think it's fair to say that Google would have been very keen to get the service up and running here. That's why it's been collecting this information for exactly the same reason that it has been in other countries. But it looks like the South Korean police -- we're told this is a specialist cyber unit set up to investigate areas of concern on the Internet -- believes that perhaps similar things have happened and that appears to be why it's acted now.

Moon: The BBC's John Sudworth in Seoul. Thank you for joining us.

Sudworth: It's a pleasure.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.

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