Google to provide data to European authorities

LOS ANGELES Sat Jun 5, 2010 11:39pm BST

A camera used for Google street view is pictured at the CeBIT computer fair in Hanover March 2, 2010. The world's largest IT fair CeBIT opens its doors on March 2 and runs through March 6. REUTERS/Christian Charisius

A camera used for Google street view is pictured at the CeBIT computer fair in Hanover March 2, 2010. The world's largest IT fair CeBIT opens its doors on March 2 and runs through March 6.

Credit: Reuters/Christian Charisius

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Google Inc (GOOG.O) said on Saturday it would hand over data it collected through wireless networks to French, German and Spanish authorities as it faces mounting legal issues concerning its data collection.

Canada recently launched a probe into Google amid privacy concerns related to the search giant's Street View service, which uses camera-equipped fleets of cars to take panoramic pictures for its online atlas.

Google has disclosed it collected private data while taking photographs for this product.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has already begun an informal inquiry into the matter. Google has said it would cooperate with authorities.

It had previously denied any wrongdoing in sending fleets of cars around the world to take pictures. Google first revealed that cars were also collecting wireless data in April, but said no personal information from Wi-Fi networks was involved.

But after an audit requested by Germany, Google acknowledged in May it mistakenly had collected samples of "payload data."

Suits have been filed in Washington D.C., California, Massachusetts and Oregon by people who accuse Google of violating their privacy by collecting data from open Wi-Fi networks.

(Editing by Xavier Briand)

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