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Czech Republic Says No To Google Street View Data Collection

September 15, 2010

Google Inc has been barred from collecting new images in the Czech Republic to update its Street View feature, a spokesperson said Tuesday, becoming the latest setback in the search giant’s mapping service.

Google has sent its Street View cars around the world capturing images to be used with the search company’s maps to give panoramic views of streets, but the service is facing sharp scrutiny from a number of US states and several other countries.

The Czech Office for Personal Data Protection (UOOU) rejected Google’s application to collect personal data in the central European state for a second time. The UOOU said the process could potentially break the law, the office said.

Hana Stepankova, spokeswoman for the UOOU, said the decision would not block Google from using photos already taken since the Czech launch of Street View in October 2009. She said, however, talks over the use of data would continue.

“We do not have complete certainty the information is being processed according to law,” said Stepankova, adding that the office could consider granting permission to Google if it could ensure the process is done legally.

The Czech decision comes after a German ruling last month that allowed Germans to keep images of themselves off the site.

Czechs can request their images to be blurred out on photos already taken with Street View, but there is a question over the use of car registration plates or facades of houses appearing on the mapping service, which covers the capital of Prague and three other cities.

Google’s Czech office said in a statement it would respect any decisions made by the Czech government and the UOOU. “We will continue to closely cooperate with UOOU and we believe the matter will be resolved in the near future,” Google said.

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