Australian police have been asked to investigate internet giant Google over possible breaches of telecommunications privacy laws, Attorney General Robert McClelland said on Sunday.

The investigation follows complaints from members of the public about activities of Google employees while taking photographs for Google Maps, the search engine's maps page. It comes amid a wave of criticism over the use of personal information by the internet giants.

The matter was referred to the Australian Federal Police on Friday after complaints from members of the public, McClelland told journalists in Melbourne at the start of a forum on internet security.

On Friday the attorney-general's department did refer those allegations and those reports to the Australian Federal Police, McClelland said.

They relate in substantial part to possible breaches of the Telecommunications Interceptions Act, which prevents people accessing electronic communications other than for authorized purposes.

A police spokeswoman confirmed a referral had been received.

A Google spokesman in Australia could not be immediately contacted for comment on Sunday.

(Editing by Sugita Katyal)