'Google Street View a security threat'

CIOL Bureau
New Update

BANGALORE, INDIA: The Street View project of global search engine Google would be a security threat to Indian cities, especially Bangalore, which is on the terror radar, the Karnataka unit of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Monday here.

"We have conveyed to the Google India officials that security considerations and the recent (July 13) terror attack in Mumbai make its Street View project vulnerable to misuse of its data and poses security threat to cities like Bangalore, which is on the terror radar," state BJP media spokesman S. Prakash told IANS here.


Google India's senior official Venkatraman Hariharan and its legal head Geethanjali met BJP lawmaker C.N. Ashwath Narayan and Prakash to explain the objectives of its Street View project, which films the thoroughfares and landmarks in a city and posts them on Google Maps to empower people with information and data for making early decisions.

"With Bangalore being on the terror radar, visual access to its main streets, landmarks and sensitive areas will open up the city to the world and make it a soft target for attacks," Prakash said.

The party has told the Indian subsidiary of Google to approach the Indian government for permission to shoot the city's streets and landmarks for its project.


"In the absence of guidelines with the central government or mechanism to monitor such a kind of project in India, there is no way we can ensure how the information or data from Street View will be used and by whom all," Prakash said.

'Formulate a clear policy'

In view of the terror threat faced by the country, the party said it was mandatory for the central government to formulate a clear policy on such projects before permission could be given to the company to go ahead with the filming of the city.


In this context, Narayan urged the central government to amend the Data Protection Act and frame guidelines to issue permission for filming the cities. "The mechanism to screen such projects needs to be put in place first," Narayan said.

After the meeting, Google India said in a statement that it would engage with relevant local authorities and members of the civil society on issues pertaining to the Street View project. "We are unable to comment on the details of the discussions," the company said in the statement.

The Bangalore police June 21 also directed Google India to seek the central government's permission to film this tech hub for its Street View project.

Google was forced to suspend filming the city three weeks after it announced the project May 26 amid fanfare.