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Spain launches privacy investigation against Google

Spanish officials announced this week that Spain has launched an investigation into whether Google [corporate website; JURIST news archive] violated privacy laws while collecting information over Wi-Fi networks for its Street View maps [website]. Madrid judge Raquel Fernandino issued a subpoena [BBC report] for an October 4 appearance by a Google representative over a lawsuit filed by Apedanica, a Spanish association of Internet users. Apedanica claims that Google's actions violate Spain's criminal code, which prevents people from accessing certain electronic communications other than for authorized purposes. The subpoena was issued last month but was not made public until this week. A spokesperson for Google stated that the Internet giant would fully cooperate with Spanish authorities [NYT report] to resolve the dispute and delete all data required under Spain's privacy laws.

Multiple investigations are already pending around the world in connection with accusations that Google unlawfully collected private data. The South Korean National Police Agency (SKNPA) [official website, in Korean] raided the Google South Korean headquarters in Seoul last week in connection with accusations that the company has been illegally acquiring user data [JURIST report]. Last month, Australian authorities completed an investigation [JURIST report] into the search giant's collection and storage of private data [JURIST news archive] over unsecured wireless networks, determining that the company violated the Australia Privacy Act. In June, the UK Metropolitan Police [official website] initiated an investigation [JURIST report] in response to a complaint filed [JURIST reports] by Privacy International (PI) [advocacy website], which claims that the information gathered in an independent audit [text, PDF] published by Google earlier that month proves that the company's interception of unencrypted data was not inadvertent [JURIST report] and should lead to prosecution. The US, Canada [JURIST reports], Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland have also asked Google to retain data collected in those respective nations.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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