In the U.S., when you start tracking users’ whereabouts you face tons of scrutiny and a software update that will fix the problem. In South Korea, they just raid your office.
Google’s Seoul office got sacked today by South Korean authorities; police suspected that its mobile advertising unit, AdMob, was illegally collecting location data without users’ consent. Location tracking? Why does this sound eerily familiar…
Police released a statement saying, “We suspect AdMob collected personal location information without consent or approval from the Korean Communication Commission.” Be careful, Google! We’re not in Kansas anymore. I don’t know what they do in South Korea, but I know they do have a man called Kim Jong Il to the North, and if the South can deal with those guys…
Google confirmed that the South Korean police had stopped by, and that the company was cooperating in the privacy probe. They just bought AdMob last year for $750 million, and have been talking about the ability to target ads based on users’ location.
In South Korea, Google has almost a 20 percent market share in the mobile internet industry, thanks to Android. Reuters also reported that Seoul police also took a “visit” to Daum Communications, a local business, for the same exact reason. South Koreans sound like they value their privacy pretty seriously.
At this point, you’ve got to wonder what Google is doing to remedy their privacy gaffes, given how numerous they’ve become. Are they just giving up after the Street View fiasco?
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