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Google's South Korean Offices Raided 99

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hate-when-that-happens dept.
lee1 writes "The Seoul police raided Google's office in Seoul, S. Korea today on suspicion that they have illegally collected users' location data, without consent, for advertising purposes. Google claims to be cooperating with the investigation."
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Google's South Korean Offices Raided

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Zerg Rush!
  • Annual Korean raid, eh?
    • by piripiri (1476949)
      They mixed up Apple with Google. Rookie mistake.
      • by slick7 (1703596)

        They mixed up Apple with Google. Rookie mistake.

        Lookie Mistake. FTFY

  • I doubt Google would store anything 'illegal' on a South Korean server.. unless they're trying to hide it from the EU, Chinese, or American prosecutors.

  • At the local PC bang playing starcraft/broodwar?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A (shorter) AP report is here [www.cbc.ca].

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A longer version is here [theglobeandmail.com].

  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @01:04PM (#36013618) Homepage Journal

    ... are about to belong to South Korea's finest. If your location data was safe with Google before, it belongs to the government now! :D

    So... any guess as to whom the police be looking for that makes it worth raiding a Google office to bring down? Do the South Koreans even have their own version of mafia / yakuza / etc.?

    • Google wants location data to better sale advertisements, where governments want data because .

      This is a pick your poison, but I don't trust any government with the amount of data that google has likely accumulated on us.

      • step 1: google (a non-gov company) collects all knowable info about you
        step 2: country wants this and raids local office of google
        step 3: worry

        don't say we didn't warn you about giving any one company too much power and control. now, its a single point of shopping for any government that has physical access to a google office.

        google collects the data; guy with guns and 'badges' come in and snag it.

        welcome to your brave new world.

        (btw, fb and that twit shit are also 'love fests' for the gov when they want m

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      Yeah, it's not ok for Google to have the data, but it's ok for the S. Korean government to have it. I'm sure they will immediately destroy it (if it exists) and not do any mining of their own. Trust Your Government (tm).
    • by Zanadou (1043400)
      <quote><p> Do the South Koreans even have their own version of mafia / yakuza / etc.?</p>
      </quote>

      Yes, they're called "kkangpae" or just "pa". Wikipedia has a little more info.

  • Don't be evil.

    Part of the motto is that you should also not give the perception of being evil. A mirror evaluation goes a long way in this respect.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't be stupid.

      Part of this motto is that you should not give the perception of being stupid.

    • Except that increasingly, Google is finding that the perception of being evil is based on nothing more than being big. People inherently mistrust them. This is all smoke, and other than Steve Jobs throwing a barbecue, there's no signs of fire.

      • by kriston (7886)

        Not in this case. While collecting WiFi is akin to iPhone's collecting WiFi to create a higher quality tracking database, in Google's case, GPS should have been enough and Google's collecting of WiFi data has no legitimate use.

        • The ultimate point, however, is that Google's "Location tracking" is:

          1) Opt-in, instead of Opt-out
          2) Very clearly described at the time of opt-in
          3) Anonymized and therefore not actaully "tracking" (though the anonymization may be taking place server-side instead of client-side)

          These three things make this entire situation nonsense. If it anonymously submits the locations of Wifi networks it finds, who the hell cares? That's perfectly legitimate data to collect. It allows Google to replicate the service/fun

  • The raid continued for 40 minutes. As the law enforcement agents moved forward in the massive compound of Google's, the office manager tried to shield the server with an iPad. But he was soon taken into custody.

    • by oldhack (1037484)
      Do servers go to heaven?
    • by slick7 (1703596)

      The raid continued for 40 minutes. As the law enforcement agents moved forward in the massive compound of Google's, the office manager tried to shield the server with an iPad. But he was soon taken into custody.

      Blah blah blah...Double Tap...film at eleven.

  • Well seriously, what did they expect? The top Starcraft players are not OK with Google's real life maphacking. South Korea isn't gonna put up with that crap.
  • by Bucc5062 (856482) <bucc5062NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @01:22PM (#36013854)

    What is going these days? People suing over location information, others running to buy tinfoil to make hats (and we know where you go to buy it) thinking there is this great conspiracy to know each individuals whereabouts in practical real time.

    Are we all terrorists? Are we all so important that we need to hide from stalkers and three letter agencies? a very large portion of the population of this planet is not that important.

    I appreciate privacy. I love my 4th amendment rights and I would not want any illegal use of data that would cause me harm including location data. If we are so consumed about this issue then lets get our representatives to enact laws to stop this practice. Require an "Opt In", not an "Opt Out". So we get Google and Apple to stop collecting data; that wont stop you from being tracked. Credit card receipts, security cameras, cell tower triangulation, the list is long on ways people and governments can figure out where you've been and what you've been doing. Want off the grid? Live in a forest and make it all yourself. Not my cup of tea.

    There are ways to deal with this other then extreme, over the top methods like invading offices overseas or 50 million dollar suits (please...grow up). Like others have said, pull the battery, turn off a feature, write to the company and tell them to stop, but in the end, you bought into it. Me? I still carry a dumb phone, mainly use maps, and don't blab about every minutia of my life on the web. I may get a smartphone one day, I may rely on GPS systems one day, but when I do, the last thing I will worry about is whether Google or Apple or RIM or whom ever is saving my location. What I will get pissed about is if they sell that data and its used in a way that provides for illegal activity by people or governments against me or other people. That is facilitation of a crime and that should be dealt with firmly.

    • I don't buy the ' I'm not doing anything wrong argument'. these people will be up in arms when their house is raided after they order the wrong book or visit the wrong site. You may think that people are smarter than that, and I agree, but there is to much information for people to sift through. It will be up to a computer to put you on a search-me-at-the-airport list not a person.
      • by Bucc5062 (856482)

        Actually, I don't buy that position either. I don't trust the law or the government even when I feel I have not done anything wrong, but currently we still have checks against abuse and that is what I am referring too. Most likely it could be a computer program that pops a name out for suspicious activity or adds it to a "don't allow them to ????" list, but it is people that monitor and implement that list and those people can be held accountable. We cannot stop data collection. In this age it is imposs

      • by Dishevel (1105119)

        So your problem is not with a company having your info. It is with a government having it.
        I agree. I trust Google to not abuse my information too much. If they do they will stop getting it.
        I TRUST that the government WILL abuse the information they get on me.

        They always do.

        • by scot4875 (542869)

          Ok, I'm just curious: name one way in which the government has abused information they have on you. Not a "they could abuse it like this" or "they abused someone else's information," but a concrete example of them abusing your information.

          Don't take this as a disagreement that datamining by the government isn't generally a bad thing; I just suspect that you're full of shit.

          --Jeremy

          • 2010 Census Questions. Required. By Law. For no purpose other than political power wielding by certain groups who benefit from the collected data. That, by itself is enough. It erodes the very idea of "one person, one vote" to being more like "all votes are equal, some are more equal than others"

            The only thing that is currently in government's favor is the general incompetence of those in government to do anything useful/harmful with the info it has.

    • If we are so consumed about this issue then lets get our representatives to enact laws to stop this practice.

      There are ways to deal with this other then extreme, over the top methods like invading offices overseas,

      So if what Google is doing is illegal in S. Korea, what is over the top about raiding Google's S. Korean office.

    • by G00F (241765) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @01:57PM (#36014406) Homepage

      Corporation existence is to make money, it doesn't care how. It only cares of public perception causes its bottom line to change. Then these same companies pay billions to make it so there are no other choices but them. I'm not taking research or marketing, but patents, laws/politicians, lawyers, etc.

      So how is any of that extreme? Anything less is ineffective and water off a ducks back. Heck nvidia spend over 500m in spare cash allocated for such uses. Big woopie, just a "cost of doing business". But at least there is a choice (bought my first ATI/AMD based graphics card and 2 others, since they pulled this crap) But if you cant switch away, or if enough people can't(or dont) the only thing you are left with is lawsuits.

      Extreme is the fact that even thought I paid for my phone, I don't own it, and have to "break it" just to remove crap applications from amazon/skype/facebook/etc that are all allowed to track everything I do, everyplace I go. Extreme is the fact if they lose my information, I don't get compensated in anyway, but the problem is shoveled off as "my identity" was stolen.

      And by the same token governments create a need for more government. They will find a need to use such data all the time, and it will be abused, it always has been and always will be.

      No, being in control of your life and data about your life is not extreme.

    • In other words, stop whining and be proactive if you value your privacy over convenience because others value the convenience and aren't disturbed except when they lose services because of your whining. We're talking to you, Blur-many [gizmodo.com].

    • by mathfeel (937008)
      You sentiment seems sensible, and I mostly agree. Unfortunately people like you and I are not going to make bunch of lawyers money. So there...
    • by antdude (79039)

      Let's stalk Bucc5062! [grin]

    • look up the utube video series 'dont talk to cops'.

      learn from someone in the field (the lecturer) WHY giving even true honest info to a cop can be bad for you.

      we live in a complex world. just BEING innocent is not enough.

      go watch those videos. there is a lot of wisdom in there. and your answer is in there, too.

    • Google is already opt-in, instead of opt-out. This whole thing is ridiculous and baseless.

  • Google claims to be cooperating with the investigation."

    A group of soldiers pointing AK47's at you tends to elicit that response.

  • Koreans tend to be xenophobic dickheads.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They will raid for them for the exact thing they would do if they could get away with it.

    Im sure they are co-operating because in korea, Im the sure the government isnt giving them any choice. Co-operation is probablly somewhere along the lines of having a gun pointed to your head and you doing what they say. Hey it works in america when your accused of doing something, they break in your house point guns at you and take anything they think is evidence to prove your guilty despite up till that point your no

  • Sorry, but I can't help laughing at your face America. When Apple got caught of secretly collecting their users' location data, there was essentially no official reaction in the US – just a few disappointed blog posts and maybe some class action lawsuits that could see some fruit .. at some point in the 2020s?

    But, in Soviet Korea, when the State learns of Google stealing its citizens' data, they put on their uniforms and raid their office, and are not ashamed to put an end to this criminal activity. T

  • Yearly "Shakedown" for donations? Or it could just be that the Korean government doesn't like the competition.
  • did they get a hold on Google's secret search formulas?

  • by John Saffran (1763678) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @03:44PM (#36016026)

    Hours later, SMPA investigators also conducted a surprise raid on the headquarters of local portal site Daum on similar suspicions. The investigators confiscated hard drives and other documents during their raid on Daum's Seoul office in Hannam-dong, central Seoul.

    http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2011/05/03/28/0302000000AEN20110503005600315F.HTML [yonhapnews.co.kr]

    To put it bluntly, collecting personal data that isn't necessary is illegal in Korea .. like it should be everywhere else to be quite honest.

    Not sure why so many people seem to be suggesting that Google (or any other company) should be collect all sorts of data at will.

    • Not sure why so many people seem to be suggesting that Google (or any other company) should be collect all sorts of data at will.

      Probably because there's another solution that involves personal responsibility, rather than knee-jerk reactions by vote-pandering politicians: if you don't want Google to know something, don't tell them. Also, the idea of outlawing "knowing" something strikes a bad chord with many people.

      • The laws that apply in this case refer to data that you didn't agree to such as location tracking (for which Apple is under investigation), or the wi-fi scanning that Google got into trouble earlier.

        Ýou may disagree but I wouldn't call upholding people's rights to privacy as 'vote-pandering' .. this is a rare case of a law that makes sense and should be implemented across other countries.
        • The laws that apply in this case refer to data that you didn't agree to such as location tracking (for which Apple is under investigation), or the wi-fi scanning that Google got into trouble earlier.

          It's hard to say what the laws in this case are, going from the article. All they say is a Google acquisition called "AdMob" got in trouble for collecting location data - they mention nothing about consent, or even how the information as obtained.

          In any event, I was mostly responding to your implication that companies should only be able to collect data that is deemed "necessary" by, I imagine, some sort of government mandate (restricting companies to collecting data that they believe necessary being rather

    • Google is opt-in, for god's sake. All this hysteria over nothing. The phone ships with location services off. During the set up, you must turn it on and when you do, it warns you that this will cause locational data to be sent to Google. Once Google gets the data, they anonymize it so it can't ever be linked back to a user. What more do you want? What should Google do that they aren't already doing? Tell me, oh wise one, how can they possibly be less evil?

      Remember, these phones all use AGPS, which lite

  • Since Google are co-operating with the investigation and providing information of their activities, then they're in the green area. You don't have to worry, if you're a good citizen, of course. But, if you were a jerk and start doing bad things like drugs/crimes and Google have the same tools used by Apple to track your location, then things should be useful to help officials get things on you.

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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