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Police stall Google Street View project

Staff Reporter
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Citing security concerns, they want Union Government's okay

PRIVACY CONCERNS:Though hugely popular in the U.S. and in the West, Street View has been stalled in countries such as Australia and even parts of the European Union.— PHOTO: AFP
PRIVACY CONCERNS:Though hugely popular in the U.S. and in the West, Street View has been stalled in countries such as Australia and even parts of the European Union.— PHOTO: AFP

Internet firm Google's plans to create a three-dimensional panoramic view of Bangalore for its Street View service, offered on Google Maps, have run into rough weather.

On Monday, the Bangalore City Police Commissioner's Office issued a notice to Google raising security concerns with the project. Forced to stall its three-week-old project, where a fleet of cars and tricycles mounted with cameras were deployed to trawl Bangalore's streets and collect images, Google issued a statement confirming it has withdrawn its cars from the street and is reviewing the situation.

Not informed

Speaking toThe Hindu, Additional Commissioner of Police Suneel Kumar said the police had issued the notice simply because it had not been informed about the company's project. Further, he said, the police had no communication from the Defence Ministry or the Ministry of Home Affairs about such a project. “We have no problem with the project, but we want to seek permission from the Central Government to allow them to go ahead,” he said, adding that the search giant claims that it has permission from the Union Government.

The project was formally launched in May, and Bangalore was chosen as the first city in the country to be mapped. Citing security concerns, ACP Kumar said though the police had not received any complaint from anybody, Bangalore did house IT parks and central establishments that have been on the radar of terrorists. “We want to know that they have taken the necessary clearance before going ahead,” he reiterated.

In 27 countries

Google's service has thus far covered 27 countries. Though hugely popular in the U.S. and in the West, it has been stalled in countries such as Australia and even parts of the European Union due to privacy concerns. In some other eastern countries it has been reported that governments have sought to regulate the places and the height at which these photographs can be taken.

Similar security concerns were previously raised regarding Google Earth in India, including a case where people called for its ban on the grounds that it helped terrorists plan their activities.

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