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Google faces German complaint

Bloomberg News / June 15, 2010

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NEW YORK — The data-protection regulator for the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate has filed a complaint with regulators on Google Inc.’s Street View service in Germany.

The complaint has been registered with all eight prosecutors’ offices in the state against Google in the United States and Germany, the office of Edgar Wagner, Rhineland-Palatinate’s data-protection commissioner, said in a statement on its website yesterday, adding that the complaint accuses Google of illegally collecting Wi-Fi data on members of the public.

The search engine company’s privacy practices are under review in countries including Canada, Spain, France, the Czech Republic, and Italy. Last month, the US Federal Trade Commission said it would take a “very close look’’ at Google’s data gathering. Google has said it is cooperating with the authorities.

Kay Oberbeck, a Google spokesman, did not return a call seeking comment after business hours in Germany.

Hamburg’s data-protection regulator, Johannes Caspar, said this month that it inspected cars and software Google used for Street View and is looking into how it collected Wi-Fi data while mapping. Hamburg prosecutors have opened a criminal probe.