The internet giant deliberately set out to collect personal data - including private emails - from computer users as its cars drove past photographing buildings, it was alleged.
Condemning Google as 'creepy', Australia’s communications minister claimed the firm thought it was above the law.
Images of individual homes, shops, offices and pubs have been taken by a fleet of Google cars driving up and down public roads across major countries, including Britain, and posted online.
But the search engine admitted earlier this month that its cars had also accidentally collected data from unprotected Wi-Fi connections as they drove past.
Yesterday Stephen Conroy, Australia's minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy, claimed at a Senate hearing that Google deliberately decided to collect the private information.