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  (Source: Reuters)
Officials are launching an investigation into how it collects and shares location data

Just as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission was preparing to launch an investigation into Google's search practices, the BBC reports that South Korean police raided Google's office in Seoul. The raid was part of South Korea’s own investigation into whether the search giant has been illegally gathering location data through its mobile advertising platform, AdMob.

A Google Korea spokeswoman confirmed that officials visited the office earlier today "to investigate how cellphones and tablets that run on Google's Android operating system collect information about users' location," according to Market Watch

She added that Google intends to "fully cooperate with the investigation."

The investigation comes at a time of increased scrutiny over how wireless carriers, app developers, and handset makers collect and share private location data. Just last week, news broke that U.S. lawmakers were looking into these practices, urging the various stakeholders to be subject to privacy laws.

Apple founder Steve Jobs also weighed in on the discussion.

In late 2009, Google purchased AdMob for $750 million, Market Watch reports. "We suspect AdMob collected personal location information without consent or approval from the Korean Communication Commission," a South Korean police official told the BBC.

The Google probe comes just days after the Korea Communications Commission sent Apple's Korean unit a list of inquiries asking how it collects and shares location data from iPhone and iPad users.





"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis






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