by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) April 21, 2011
Belgium became Thursday the latest European country to investigate Google's Street View picture map after cars taking pictures for the programme collected private data.
"We have received a complaint from the privacy protection committee and we have opened an investigation," federal prosecutor's spokesman Eric Van der Sijpt told AFP.
A commission official told the Flemish newspaper De Morgen that the body believes the US Internet giant committed a "flagrant violation of privacy protection laws."
With cameras mounted on their roofs, Street View cars take 360-degree pictures of locations that are then posted to Google Maps, offering users panoramic views of roads.
Launched in 2007, Street View has sparked privacy concerns in several European countries including France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
In May, Google admitted that its Street View cars, taking photographs of cities in more than 30 countries, had inadvertently gathered data sent over unsecured wifi systems, sparking complaints by data regulators worldwide.
Google Belgium apologised on Thursday.
"We are sorry to have unintentionally collected data from unsecured wifi networks," Google said. "As soon as we realised what happened, we interrupted the activities of our Street View cars and we informed the authorities."
"We neither looked at nor used the data for Google products or services. We are in contact with Belgian authorities and will continue to answer all of their questions."
Last month, France's data privacy regulator imposed a record fine of 100,000 euros ($142,000) on Google for collecting private information while compiling photos for Street View.
Earlier this month, a Swiss court ordered Google to make all images of individuals and vehicle plates unrecognisable on Street View.
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|