Google fined 210 million Won for unauthorised data collection through ‘Street View’ feature in South Korea

Google was today Penalised for its ‘Street View’ feature in Google Maps from the South Korean communications regulator Korea Communications Commission under the ‘Ministry of Communications and Information.’ The Korea Communications Commission in a meeting today held that Google had captured data through illegal means for its Street View feature.  It imposed a fine of 210 million won ($196,000) on Google.  

Further the Commission has also ordered the US based internet giant to delete all personal data it has gathered through the above feature without consent.  The Commission has ordered Google to put up the details of the deletion on its website.

Street View is a very popular feature on Google Maps, however to capture the realtime street images in South Korea, Google had operated vehicles equipped with special cameras and computers in most big cities like Seoul, Busan, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province between 2009 and 2010. 

The Street View database is thus filled with details and data of people who may have unknowingly and illegally been captured on the camera.  As such collected information include Internet IDs, passwords, residential registration numbers, and Media Access Control addresses, unique numbers assigned to network adaptors on computers.  The Korean Communications Commission found Google guilty of illegal data grabbing and storage.

“The latest penalty is the first of its kind imposed on a global company that violated the private information protection laws,” said KCC chairman Lee Kyung-jae, adding “The commission will punish those who collect information of the Korean public without exception.”

KCC had opened the case against Google after it was alleged that Google was storing private unauthorised information in other countries.  Google has already been fined in United States, France and Germany on similar grounds.  In the US, Google had voluntarily agreed to pay fines of upto $17 million while Germany and France fined Google with 45,000 euros and 150,000 euros, respectively.

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