Google Street View faces Spanish inquisition

Spain has become the latest country to take search giant Google to task over the unauthorised gathering of Wi-Fi data by its Street View cars.

The country joins a queue of territories already investigating claims that the company violated local privacy laws by snooping on traffic sent over unprotected wireless networks while its cars were out taking photographs for the site's Street View feature.

Madrid judge Raquel Fernandino is investigating whether or not Google has committed a 'computer crime' following a complaint made against the search giant by Spanish tech consultancy Apedanica.

Google spokeswoman Marisa Toro confirmed on Tuesday that the company had been served with a subpoena demanding its attendance at a hearing on 4 October.

Google claims that its Street View cars collected the so-called 'payload data' by mistake, after unauthorised code was installed into the vehicles by a rogue programmer. The company says it ceased to collect the data as soon as the mistake was revealed, and insists that it has never made use of any of the information.

The company is still under investigation in the United States, Germany and Australia.

The UK Information Commissioner's Office recently cleared Google of any wrongdoing in Britain.