Finally, for the 2nd time now, the Indian government has rejected Google’s Street View service in India as stated by Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, the Minister of State for Home Affairs.
As told by Ahir while replying to a written question regarding this matter, a proposal was submitted to the Lok Sabha back in July 2015 for review and to allow Google Street View permission to cover the streets of India.
But as Ahir informed, “the government did not agree to the proposal.”
The Google Street View allows a user to view public areas and more at a 360-degree panoramic street-level imagery. Although available in as many as 82 countries, India has always been a little reluctant with this technology.
Earlier Google started this app in 2011 in Bengaluru to gather street-level imagery but not long after was told by local authorities to shut it down due to security reasons. After that, in collaboration with the Archeological Survey of India in 2015, Google Street View tried to re-enter the country by making 31 historical sites and monuments available on the app.
However, Google has since then been trying to get into the local areas and have more areas available on their feature than just monuments.
This decision of the government to not allow Google Street View access to the internal imagery of Indian streets makes more sense especially after taking a look at how it violates security often.
Here we take a look at some ways that this app can be dangerous:
1. Terrorist Surveillance Made Easy
In 2016 the Defence Ministry of India raised serious claims against allowing Google Street View into the country. As quoted by a senior government official, “The main concern was security of sensitive defence installations. The Defence Ministry said it was not possible to monitor the service once it was launched and it would be detrimental to national security.”
This was in light of the Pathankot attack on their airbase where it is said that terrorists used Google Maps to become acquainted with the place as according to sources during the attack they seemed to have prior knowledge of the airbase’s topography.
2. Individual Privacy Can Be Compromised
While Google does say it blurs out identifiable things like car license plates and faces of people, it is not that difficult to make out the blurred things.
And even if one can request to blur out their home photo or any image of the personal property, the same is not exactly possible for a person’s face.
A person cannot keep a constant check on the Google Street View for any unwanted images of them and even more than that, it is difficult to track user-contributed images.
If a person is not aware of their image on the feature then it would be available for people all over the world to see, save and do whatever they want.
3. Can Be Used To Stalk Someone
More on an individual level, but Google Street View can be potentially used to stalk a person and learn all about where they live and details of areas surrounding them.
Robbers, stalkers and more can easily misuse this feature for the wrong means.
Thus, for the time being, it is good that the government has prohibited Google Street View from coming into India.
Image Credits: Google Images