Cops halt Google ‘street view’ project

2011-06-21 09:45

Police in the Indian city of Bangalore have ordered Google to stop taking images of the city for its “Street View” project pending talks with authorities, a company spokesperson said today.

Google launched the project in India last month aiming to collect panoramic images of the vast country ranging from its palaces to its slums.

“We received a letter from Bangalore’s commissioner of police and are reviewing it. We will not be collecting any more images for Street View until we speak to the police,” a Google spokesperson told AFP.

“We expect to have any issues sorted out soon,” she added.

The internet giant launched its 360-degree photographic mapping service amid much fanfare in the technology hub of Bangalore, mounting special cameras on cars and tricycles to collect images.

Street View, which operates in more than 25 countries, has proved hugely popular with users since its launch in the United States in 2007, but it has also run into trouble with several governments concerned about privacy.

In March, France’s data privacy regulator imposed a record fine of €100 000 (about R970 000) on Google for collecting private information while compiling photographs for the project.

Last month the company said it would appeal against a Swiss ruling ordering it to ensure that all people and cars pictured on Street View were unrecognisable.

Google has also agreed to delete private emails and passwords mistakenly picked up from wireless networks in Britain by its Street View cars.

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