Google's South Korean office was raided by police in that country over the use of location data in its AdMob mobile ad platform, which delivers ads on Android handsets and tablets.
South Korea continues to put the screws to Google as authorities
in the country raided Google's office there to investigate whether the search
engine has been collecting users' location data through its mobile ad platform.
Seoul's Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA) descended on
Google's office May 3 looking into allegations that Google's AdMob platform was
used to illegally collect private data about users' geographical locations. Google
purchased AdMob for $700 million last May to help developers insert ads within
A Google Korea spokesperson told
The Wall Street Journal
police entered the office to investigate how Android
devices collect information about users' location.
The raid on Google's office comes days after South
Korea's Korea Communications Commission sent a list of inquiries to Apple Korea
unit to clarify how it collects location data from iPhone and iPad users, the
Google is cooperating with the SMPA's investigation, a
company spokesperson told eWEEK via email May 3.
"We're happy to work with the Korean authorities to
answer any enquiries they may have, and are committed to operating within
Korean law," the Google spokesperson said.
This was the second raid by the SMPA since last August,
when it grabbed hard drives and documents related to Google's Street View
service, which South Korean authorities said violated the country's telecommunications
The new raid follows a swath of negative sentiment
swirling around Apple and Google regarding the way they collect and use data driven
by users' whereabouts.
Google said it uses
the location of wireless signals from WiFi hotspots and cellular towers to
help a smartphone triangulate its position.
The company does this to improve both the relevancy and
ad targeting for Google Maps, Google Places, Google Latitude and other
location-oriented, mobile social apps. Users access these apps from smartphones
and tablets based on Google's Android operating system.
Google is facing opposition from its South Korean rivals
The country's NHN and Daum Communications search engines
two weeks ago to country's Fair Trade Commission that Google is supposedly
blocking local phone carriers and phone makers from adding their search
applications to Android-based handsets and tablets.
"Android is an open platform, and carrier and OEM
partners are free to decide which applications and services to include on their
Android phones," Google told eWEEK April 15.