In late May, Google made its way into Bangalore to continue its Street View project – taking panoramic images of the streets while blurring out the faces, license plates, and other private information of users that are accidentally captured in the pictures. Just a few weeks later, the project has been frozen by the Bangalore Chief of Police, Jyotiprakash Mirji. Mirji just confirmed that the reason for the freeze is a need to get official clearance from the central government.
According to Google representatives who made statements about Street View in May, getting clearance and keeping to all guidelines was already part of the Google game-plan. It seems that not all authorities were okay on the subject, or that at least some step in the official clearance procedures wasn’t fully checked off, because Mirji sent an official notice for Google to halt the service entirely.
The tipster who notified the press of the freeze indicated that the reason was likely due to regulations that usually apply to publishers when it comes to taking pictures of public locations and private businesses. While Mirji did not confirm that these regulations were part of the concern, he did indicate that more steps were necessary on Google’s part. “We have written to the Google authorities to get permission of the Indian government for filming Bangalore for its Street View project in its ’Maps’ platform as it is a sensitive exercise,” stated Mirji.
This is just one of many legal bear traps that Google has gotten its Street View leg trapped in. Dozens of legal cases around Europe, Asia, and North America have slowed and occasionally halted Street View images. The typical concerns, and likely the root cause of the prompt for clearance, are all oriented around individual privacy.
[sources include: NDTV]