There is bad news for Google addicts as India has declined to give security clearance to the Internet giant’s Street View service, primarily due to objections raised by the Defence Ministry, a senior government official told The Hindu.
The Street View service allows users to have a panoramic view of places in cities, as they would look in real life.
The Internet giant uses cars and bikes fitted with cameras to collect 360-degree images of a place.
The Hindu had >reported on January 30 that Home Ministry, which decides the security clearance for such services, was unlikely to allow Google’s Street View services in India given red flags raised by the Defence Ministry. It is learnt that a technical committee of the Defence Ministry, which comprises officials from Indian Air Force, Military Intelligence, Navy, Army and Intelligence Bureau, had unanimously opposed the service, the official said.
“The main concern was security of sensitive defence installations. The Defence Ministry said it was not possible to monitor the service once it was launched and it would be detrimental to national security,” said a senior government official.
The proposal was rejected in February itself, primarily amid security concerns after the terror attack at the Pathankot airbase on January 1-2. Investigating agencies suspect that terrorists used Google maps as they were aware of the airbase’s topography.
The decision comes close on the heels of a proposed law to regulate Internet content in the country. The Home Ministry recently uploaded the draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016 for comments from the public. The Bill proposes jail term of seven years and a fine upto Rs. 100 crore for wrongly depicting the map of India, a move that is likely to hit Google and Microsoft. Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said once the proposed bill comes into force, issues related to Internet-based applications would be resolved.
In April 2015, Google representatives made a presentation on Street View for the MHA. They had told the officials then that the platform would be useful for tourism and disaster management.