Spain's data protection authority said Monday it has filed a suit against Google for allegedly capturing data from Internet users when it collected photos for its Street View service.
"The Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD) has opened disciplinary proceedings against Google" for alleged violation of the country's data protection laws, following an investigation launched in May, it said in a statement posted on its website.
It said it had evidence of five offences committed by Google involving the capturing and storing of data from users connected to Wi-Fi networks while collection photographs for Street View, and the transfer of such data to the United States.
The agency has forwarded its findings to a Madrid court.
AEPD said that if the allegations are proven in court, Google could face fines of between 60,000 and 600,000 euros (84,000 and 840,000 dollars) for each offence.
Google's Street View provides pictures of real-world moments at spots around the world. But it has sparked concerns over the possible of erosion of privacy.
Google revealed earlier this year that electronics in its picture-taking vehicles captured data from wireless Internet systems not secured by passwords.
The company has apologized repeatedly for what it called an accidental data grab, but authorities in more than a dozen countries are investigating whether the company broke privacy laws.
The AEPD complaint follows a suit by an association promoting the rights of Internet users in Spain, APEDANICA, over the same issue.
A judge in August decided to investigate that complaint.
Sources at Google Spain quoted by the newspaper El Mundo said the company "deeply regrets having collected data in Spain" but emphasized that the "data was not used in any form or in any Google product and the company has never intended to use it in that way."
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