Google Street View Services Denied Permission Again

The government seems to show a blind eye towards WoNoBo which does the same thing as Street View .

Google Street View Image Source- MapAnything
  • Google Street View services stalled in India over “security concerns”.
  • Issues said to be sorted out once the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016, comes into force.
  • The government shows double standards by giving permission to WoNoBo.

The government first denied permission to the Google Street View service in May 2011 when the search giant first started recording 360-degree images of the southern city, Bangalore. The government gave its permission for a relaunch, and even tied up with Google, by allowing it to cover many monuments like the Qutub Minar and the Taj Mahal. Now, Google has been denied permission to bring Street View to India.

Google Street View Car Image Source:Wikipedia Commons

Google hasn’t really had an easy drive with Google Street View. It shot primarily using a car equipped with a 360-degree camera, but the concerns governments have raised have primarily been over privacy as the camera captures everything in its path even children playing in front of their homes .

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However, there is a bit of hypocrisy behind how the government has handled Google Street View. While the service now covers most of the world, it has been stalled in India over “security concerns”. That is perfectly understandable .

The problem, however, is a service called WoNoBo. Launched in October 2013, this Mumbai-based service does the same thing as Street View and with permission from the government. When it was launched in New Delhi one of the attendees was then Tourism Secretary Parvez Dewan who said the service “will add immense value to the Incredible India campaign”.

WoNoBo is still live on apps and show 360-degree videos of many cities, including strategic locations like government buildings, which are all searchable. Everything from faces to number plates of cars are visible on WoNoBo, available only on its apps now. The government seems to show a blind eye towards WoNoBo which also clearly compromises security.

WoNoBo app shows Marine Drive ,Image source:Google Play

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The company site says the web service will be back soon. It is hard
to understand why the government has double standards in this case unless we consider that the government trusts the Indian companies from misusing the d
ata collected.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju has said the issues will be sorted out once the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016, comes into effect.


-by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram.(with inputs from The Indian Express) Twitter: @ajkrish14