HOT OFF THE WIRE

Google to be sued by Belgium for not blurring military sites

Google to be sued by Belgium for not blurring military sites

  • 28 September 2018
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Belgium has reportedly asked Google to obscure sensitive military sites.

Google is facing legal action from Belgium for not blurring images of military sites.

The Belgian defence ministry had requested that the company obscure air bases in its satellite imagery.

A spokesman for Google said it has been working closely with the Belgian government for two years.

"The Ministry of Defence will sue Google," a spokeswoman for the ministry told Reuters.

Further details about the legal action were not given, although the ministry is said to have requested sites such as nuclear power plants and air bases be blurred on the search giant's satellite imagery.

  • Google tracks users who turn off location history
  • Ex-Google employee warns of 'disturbing' China plans
  • Google hit with €4.3bn Android fine from EU

"It's a shame the Belgium Department of Defence have decided to take this decision," Michiel Sallaets, spokesman for Google in Belgium, said in a statement.

"We have been working closely with them for more than two years, making changes to our maps where asked to make them legal under Belgian law.

"We plan to continue working with them in that spirit of cooperation."

The company has previously been asked to obscure sensitive military sites in countries including France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Google Street View is currently unapproved in India. In 2016 the defence ministry there cited concerns over the security of sensitive military installations as a reason for not letting the company map street-level images.

Earlier this year, security concerns were raised over the fitness tracking firm Strava. The company's "heatmaps", generated by its users as they run or cycle, were shown to expose the exercise routines of military personnel in secret bases around the world.