Google in talks with cops

Google in talks with cops

Street view fleet

However, the City police say they were forced to stop the search giant from filming the city streets as it had not obtained the necessary “security-related permission.”

The cars, which were taking pictures of public places in Bangalore, were forced off the roads on Monday, following police concerns that the visuals meant to easily identify landmarks would be used by terrorists to plot attacks in the City.

Despite its popularity in the US, Google Street View ran into trouble in France, Switzerland and Britain for trampling on private spaces and unwittingly collecting private e-mail IDs from wireless networks.

Concerns over the service aiding terrorists to easily pick locations for attacks were mounting since Google’s cars and tri-cycles were out on the streets taking pictures.

Though the service would take months to launch, Google had said it had done enough to mask sensitive information and would probably be repeating such assertions to the local police. It would also cite clearances given by the Home and External Affairs ministries for the project.

However, with the intervention of police on the exercise, the government could reconsider the decision to let the company take pictures of public places, given the way the Mumbai attack plotters used the Google services.

The search giant declined to reveal details about its consultations with the police. No local spokesperson of Google was available for comment.

Police version

Bangalore Police Commissioner B G Jyothiprakash Mirji on Tuesday clarified that Google had not sought police permission for its street view operations.

Google India Private Limited was granted a “no objection” for the movement their vehicles with the condition that they do not disrupt free flow of traffic or general public and that they obtain necessary permission required from the security point of view, the Commissioner said.

Since it went ahead filming the city streets without security-related permission from the Government of India, its operations were stopped. Google has agreed to abide by the order till it gets permission from the departments concerned in the Government of India, Mirji said.

The search giant had begun its street view operations in Bangalore three weeks ago. The 360 degree pictures and images of the City are to be embedded on the popular Google Maps and Google Earth Service.

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