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Google failed to get Centre nod on Street View: Police

BS Reporter  |  Bangalore 

The police here on Tuesday said internet giant Google's Street View project in the city had been stalled, as the company had failed to produce the clearances it had earlier claimed to have obtained from the central government.

“They (Google) said they had the necessary clearances, including that from the ministry of defence, but so far they have not produced these. So, we have asked them to produce the documents before going ahead,” said assistant commissioner, T Sunil Kumar.

“We are in discussion with the authorities to address their concerns. We hope to resolve the matter at the earliest,” a Google India spokesperson said in an email reply.

Google India had yesterday said the Bangalore police had asked the company to suspend collecting images of Bangalore streets, and the company has stopped its camera-mounted cars for the time being.

Google India had launched its Street View project here last month to capture images of the city to feed its popular Google Maps platform. As a part of this, the company engaged a fleet of cars and tricycles mounted with cameras to visit various locations for taking photographs of streets and public locations.

Google claimed to have obtained permission of the Bangalore police. The company was planning to expand the project to other cities.

The office of the Commissioner of Police, stated it had only issued a 'no-objection letter' for the movement of ‘street view vehicles’, subject to necessary permission that might be required from the security point of view.

“Since they proceeded with filming without necessary security-related permission from the Government of India, their operations were stopped,” the statement said.

The police also said the 'no-objection letter' that Google India had sought for was only meant for the movement of their street view vehicles, without causing obstruction to the free flow of traffic or general public.

On being asked what would happen to the images Google has already taken, the ACP said the department would examine all those pictures. “If there is any violation of law or privacy, we will take appropriate measures. We will look at it legally,” added Kumar.

This is not the first time that the search engine giant is facing roadblock for its Street View project. In May, the company said its camera-mounted cars had inadvertently collected personal data from unsecured wireless networks. This led the company to undergo increased scrutiny in several countries including France and the UK.

France had imposed a fine of euro 100,000 ($144,000) for fetching data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks for Street View. The UK had asked Google to delete any personal data from Wi-Fi hot spots collected by Street View.

The company is also undergoing a legal battle in Switzerland, with allegations that Street View had infringed on privacy.

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First Published: Wed, June 22 2011. 00:16 IST