NEW DELHI: Citing security concerns, the Union Home Ministry has denied tech giant Google permission to cover broad swathes of the country though its Street View feature.
Street View photographs are captured by cameras mounted on vehicles that ply public roads to record their surroundings. Once uploaded, the application gives the viewer a slice of reality, as if he or she is standing in the middle of the road and looking around.
Sources said that after considering Google’s proposal at length for nearly a year, both the Home Ministry and Defence Ministry decided that permission for Street View couldn’t be granted as it may have serious security implications.
“Street view could be used by terrorists to set coordinates for launching attacks with precision. We cannot afford to have such a service. The Geospatial Bill, which is in the process of being drafted into law, will elaborately dwell on this issue,” sources said.
A senior Home Ministry official said the service could be used as virtual reconnaissance by terrorists and criminals. Although the data available with Street View is not real-time, the localities do not often change,” he argued.
Google had given a detailed presentation on Street View to the Home Ministry in April 2015, explaining how the platform could be useful in promoting tourism and in times of disasters. In July 2015, the firm submitted a proposal to shoot images with high-end cameras mounted on vehicles and on-foot. A pilot project was undertaken by Google in collaboration with the Tourism Ministry, where it captured 360-degree panoramic views of tourist spots like Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Thanjavur temple.
Intelligence agencies argue that allowing Street View would compromise India’s security