Paris: France became the latest country
on Thursday to probe Google for gathering personal data as its
Street View bikes and cars photographed cities across the
world for the controversial mapping service.
The French data protection agency CNIL said it was
examining private data collected for Street View, including
emails and possibly banking details, to decide if the firm
should face criminal charges or other sanctions.
Street View lets users view panoramic street scenes on
Google Maps and take a virtual "walk" through cities such as
New York, Paris or Hong Kong.
The service, which began in 2006, first came in for
criticism for threatening the privacy of people caught --
sometimes in embarrassing situations -- in the photos taken by
cars cruising cities in over 30 countries.
But when it emerged that Google's cars and bikes had also
been gathering fragments of personal data sent over unsecured
Wi-Fi systems, legal action and official probes were quickly
announced across the world.
CNIL chairman Alex Turk said Google sent its data to the
French agency on June 4 after the CNIL requested it, and said
that by September he hoped to be able to decide whether or not
the Internet giant should face any sanctions.
First Published: Thursday, June 17, 2010, 23:56