Belgian prosecutors launching a probe over possible privacy breaches concerning wireless Internet data collected by Google’s Street View service. Belgian data protection officials believe Google is guilty of a “flagrant violation of privacy protection laws.”
The country’s federal prosecutors “have opened a file” and will investigate whether Google broke rules when it collected private data, Eric Van Der Sypt, a spokesman for the authority, said in a phone interview.
Belgian data protection regulators concluded earlier this year that Google had committed “flagrant violations of privacy law” by collecting and storing wireless Internet addresses and traffic between computers and WiFi hotspots, said Emmanuel Vincart, a spokesman for Belgium’s Privacy Commission, in a telephone interview.
Vincart said Belgian privacy regulators don’t have the power to fine the Mountain View, California-based company and passed the case to the federal prosecutors in January.
The owner of the world’s biggest search engine mistakenly collected data from unencrypted networks and had never inspected it or used it, Anoek Eckhardt, a Google spokeswoman in Amsterdam, said in an e-mail.
“We are working with the authorities in Belgium and continue to answer any questions and concerns they might have,” Eckhardt said.