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South Korean Police to Seek Charges Against Google

In this Oct. 2006 file photo, a mouse sits atop a Google mouse pad at Google's New York office.

Police in South Korea say they have concluded their months-long investigation into Google Incorporated and will recommend that the giant Internet firm be charged with illegally collecting personal information from hundreds of thousands of people.

If prosecutors follow the recommendation, South Korea would become the first to press charges among several countries that are looking into Google's controversial Street View project. Google staff have been driving with cameras in more than 30 countries to provide panoramic street views to augment the company's popular mapping service.

Google has acknowledged that it inadvertently picked up personal data from unsecured wi-fi networks as its photographers drove the streets. South Korean police say the data includes personal e-mails, passwords, credit card payment information and text messages.

Police say they found the data on computers seized during a raid on the offices of Google's South Korean subsidiary in August of last year.