Czech Republic bans Google Street View data gathering

15 Sep 2010

Czech authorities have stopped Google from collecting new images to update its Street View services.

The Czech Office for Personal Data Protection (UOOU) denied Google a licence to collect new images in the country, saying the process could potentially break the law.

UOOU said they could not ban images taken since the Czech launch of Street View in October 2009.

“We do not have complete certainty the information is being processed according to law,” UOOU spokesperson Hana Stepankova said.

She noted that the office could consider granting Google permission if it could ensure that they can do the process legally.

“We’re disappointed, as we believe Street View is legal in the Czech Republic,” a spokesperson for Google said to BBC News.

“We have in place robust procedures to protect privacy, such as face and number plate blurring and removal tool.

“Street View has proved a popular and useful tool for consumers and businesses around the world and we look forward to finding a solution to bring additional imagery to people in Czech Republic,” they said.

They added that the company will engage in “constructive dialogue” with the UOOU on the matter.

The latest ban follows controversy the service has been experiencing recently.

France has launched an investigation into the privacy implications of Google’s data collecting process earlier this year, after Google had admitted its cars had collected communications data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks.

Google gave the French authorities access to the data in June and removed the Wi-Fi equipment from its cars.

Germany, too, had concerns about Google Street View vehicles. The German government ordered Google to give its citizens the option to have their properties blurred in Google Street View photos.