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Street View hauled into Spanish court

Google to face judge over Wi-Fi slurping

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A Madrid judge has ordered Google's legal representative in Spain to appear in court in October over charges that Street View's clandestine Wi-Fi slurping operations may have breached the country's privacy laws.

Judge Raquel Fernandino of the capital's Magistrates' Court number 45 acted on a complaint by the Asociación para la Prevención y Estudio de Delitos, Abusos y Negligencias en Informática y Comunicaciones Avanzadas (Association for the Prevention and Investigation of Crime, Abuse and Malpractice in Information Technology and Advanced Communications), that Google may have breached Article 197 of the Penal Code.

This carries a possible fours years in jail for anyone who "intercepts the communications of third parties without their consent", El País explains.

The judge has asked the provincial cybercrimes unit to provide a report on "the reported activities, the equipment used, the type of data obtained in Madrid, where this is stored, as well as the number of people affected".

An Apedanica spokesman said: "Google's representative isn't being called as a witness, but rather as a defendant. The judge has asked the police for a report on the collection of data in Madrid because that's within his jurisdiction. Obviously it's not the only Spanish city where Street View has operated, but we've presented the complaint in Madrid, where Google has its headquarters."

A Google spokesman said yesterday: "We're working in every country with the authorities and legal bodies to answer any questions they may have. Our final aim is to delete the data according to our legal obligations and in consultation with the relevant authorities."

International response to Google Wi-Fi snooping has been mixed.

While South Korean police last week raided the company's offices over the matter, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office has said it has "no responsibility for enforcing the law on interception of communications". ®

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