Google (goog) has reportedly been blocked from fully rolling out its Street View service in India due to security concerns.
The Hindustan Times reported Friday that the Indian home ministry doesn’t want to grant permission for the service until after a contentious bill has been enacted. This may take up to two years.
The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill would require government permission for publishing maps of the country or sharing location data. This could have an impact on everything from Google Maps to smartphone services such as Uber.
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Apart from maintaining secrecy around military installations and other sensitive locations, critics say the proposed law is also aimed at entrenching the country’s claim over disputed territories such as Jammu and Kashmir.
Officials investigating the 2008 Mumbai attacks said the terrorists had used Google Earth in their planning.
“The government had allowed Google to capture street-level imagery of some tourist spots like the Qutub Minar, Taj Mahal, Red Fort on an experimental basis. But the matter didn’t go further than that,” a “senior official” told the Hindustan Times.
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This isn’t the first time Google has had official trouble with its Street View service, which launched in 2007, enabling people see images of streets, buildings, and other urban features. The tech giant suspended Street View in Germany in 2011 following a significant privacy pushback from the populace.
Many Germans did not like their building facades being displayed online, so for a while, Google let them opt out. It employed temporary staff to blur out individual buildings when requested. But that didn’t stop people trying to sue it for privacy infringement, and eventually, Google stopped updating its Street View images in the country.