India rejects Google Street View plan over security concerns

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India has rejected Google’s plans to collect images for its Street View service in the country after objections from security agencies.

Officials told the BBC there were concerns that the service would compromise the country’s security.

Google Street View collects high definition images to give its users 360 degree views of streets, tourist spots, hills and rivers.

Google’s data collection has caused concern in numerous countries.

The Press Trust of India agency reported that India’s interior ministry had informed Google that its plans to cover India through the service had been rejected.

Security agencies had expressed concerns about allowing such image-capturing services, on the basis that planning for the 2008 Mumbai attacks is believed to have involved photographic reconnaissance of targets by key “planner” David Headley, a US man.

‘Detrimental’

“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,” a senior government official was quoted as saying by The Hindu newspaper.

A spokesman for Google told the BBC that had they had not received a copy of the order as yet.

In 2011, police in the southern city of Bangalore stopped Google from collecting images for its service in the city on an experimental basis after police objections. Cameras mounted on cars and tricycles had been taking pictures of the city.

Google Street View was launched in May 2007, covering San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, New York and Miami, allowing users to navigate virtual streets from photographs gathered from directional cameras on special vehicles.

The service has been hugely successful but has caused problems of privacy in some countries.

In 2010 almost 250,000 Germans told Google to blur pictures of their homes on the Street View service and the Czech government also banned Google from taking any new photos for the service.

More stories at BBC

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