Google Inc., under investigation in Germany for the data-gathering practices of its Street View mapping service, now faces probes in Spain, France and Italy for possible violation of privacy laws.

Spain’s Data Protection Authority on Tuesday ordered an investigation of whether Google breached privacy rules by collecting and storing data from Wi-Fi networks and information sent over the networks. Italy and France also ordered inquiries.

The Spanish agency “will call on Google to explain whether it has captured data without the consent of citizens in Spain,” it said in a statement May 19.

It sent a formal request urging Google “to block the data associated with wireless networks gathered in Spanish territory.”

The Hamburg Prosecutors’ Office said it is investigating people at Google on suspicion of criminal data capture. German data regulators are already looking into how cars that Google used to take pictures for Street View ended up with private data from Wi-Fi networks that weren’t password-protected.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin said Wednesday that the company “screwed up” by collecting and storing information from Wi-Fi networks while gathering data for its Street View mapping service.


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