Archive for May 28th, 2011

Google street view


Google started collecting data for its Street View project in Bangalore on Thursday, but is being very careful not to run into controversies about privacy or government concerns about security, a company executive said.

The company holds that its Street View images are likely to be useful to people, businesses and the government. Ambulances and fire engines, for example, will find it easier to get to their destinations if they have access to the maps, said Vinay Goel, product head at Google India.

Google is coordinating with the local police and federal government agencies to get clearances and keep them informed about what the company is doing, he added. As far as possible, it would prefer to launch its Street View image collection at the invitation of local state governments.

Goel said that the people’s faces and vehicles’ license plates will be blurred to ensure that they are not identifiable. The data on the faces and the number plates will not be deleted, because Google may have to go back to the data, for example in case someone claims that it wasn’t blurred properly, he added.

Google will also take the opinion of the government and other authorities about the level of detail it can go into, when taking images of installations that are considered sensitive by the government, Goel said.

In 2005, India’s former president, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, criticized Google Earth and other online satellite mapping services for exposing sensitive installations in developing countries to terrorists.

Data protection authorities in a number of countries are investigating Street View service, after the company said last year that its camera cars mistakenly collected data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks while compiling images of city streets for its Google Maps site.

“There is a lot that we have learnt over time,” Goel said. “We have now said that we aren’t looking at any of that Wi-Fi payload information as part of Street View.”

Google is launching its Street View in India even as the country has tightened privacy rules. New rules place controls on the collection and use by companies of “sensitive personal information” such as a person’s physical, physiological and mental health condition, sexual orientation, medical records and history, and biometric information.

An image of a person walking in the street may not be considered as sensitive personal information, but it is in a legal gray area where people can claim that their privacy has been encroached upon, said Pavan Duggal, a cyber law consultant and advocate in India’s Supreme Court.

Blurring the face may not be sufficient in such a situation, if it is still possible to identify the person, he added.

Google will be extremely responsive to any request received from a user for the additional blurring of any images that feature them, the company said in a statement. Street View is designed to comply with all local laws including those related to security and privacy in India, it added.

New rules in India for intermediaries also require that Internet companies pull down content that is found to be objectionable within 36 hours, after the intermediary is notified by the affected party or the government, or becomes aware of the content on its own, Duggal said.

If there is some concern from the government or individuals about certain images, Google will work with them to remove the images, Goel said.

Google has previously criticized the new rules, and said that “if Internet platforms are held liable for third-party content, it would lead to self-censorship and reduce the free flow of information”.

These probable legal issues come on top of challenges that Google already faced in building an online map application in India about three to four years ago.

Unlike in developing countries, where the company may have licensed third-party cartographic data, there wasn’t any credible source for good and up-to-date maps in India, Goel said. Printed maps in India become out-dated six months before they are printed as everything is changing very fast on the ground. So the company decided to use its Map Maker program to get users to add information into the maps, he added.

In India, unlike in the U.S., driving directions are usually based on key landmarks like a church, temple, a movie theater, or a popular restaurant, Goel said.

Google plans to roll out Street View across the country, though it did not specify a time-frame.

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Street View


Google launched its “Street View”project in India on Thursday aiming to collect panoramic images of the vast country ranging from its palaces to its slums.

The 360-degree photographic mapping service, which is already in operation in more than 25 countries, began gathering data in the southern city of Bangalore, a technology hub where many Internet firms are based.

Street View has proved hugely popular since its launch in the United States in 2007, but it has also run into trouble with several governments concerned about privacy.

“Street View is designed to comply with all local laws including those related to security and privacy in India,” Google India chief Vinay Goel told reporters in Bangalore.

He said the programme, which allows computer users to simulate walking down streets and around corners, would be useful for “urban development planners, law enforcement agencies, house-hunters, and travellers”.

Goel declined to give details about Google’s plans to expand the project across India, where cities and villages are often a chaotic jumble of traffic jams, buffalo carts and shanty towns.

The company said that detailed images of Bangalore, which are being collected by special cameras mounted on cars and tricycles, would be made accessible once the data had been processed.

Google said earlier this month that it would appeal against a Swiss ruling ordering it to ensure that all people and cars pictured on Street View were unrecognisable.

France’s data privacy regulator imposed a record fine of 100,000 euros ($142,000) on Google in March for collecting private information while compiling photographs for the service.

Google has also agreed to delete private emails and passwords mistakenly picked up from wireless networks in Britain by its Street View cars.

“We have got permission from Bangalore police, and are in touch with state and central governments,” a Google spokeswomen told AFP. “We want to map all of the city, but anyone can complain if they are unhappy about coverage.”

Street View tricycles have already collected imagery from international tourist sites including Stonehenge in Britain, Pompeii in Italy and Versailles in France.

“In India too, we are planning to collect images of important monuments and tourist spots after getting necessary sanction from the authorities,” Goel said.

10 Reasons Why Osama Bin Laden got killed?


10 Reasons Why Osama Bin Laden got killed?

Because:

- Manmohan Singh is not President of US.

- Barack Obama doesnt take permissions from Sonia Gandhi.

- He was not hiding in India. Our system is unable to find a missing Chief Minister in its own country, can you expect them to find Osama.

- He didnt surrender himself to Indian government. This government is not able to give death sentence to already arrested and convicted by the Supreme Court- Ajmal Kasab (eventually he would be by the SC) and Afzal Guru – after years. Had he surrendered to India, Osama could have spent a life here as our guest on our money.

- CBI was not incharge of investigation and operation. They are busy in saving Kalmadi, Kanimozhi and Raja.

- Amar Singh didnt leak the tape of Obamas phone though he could fake one.

- In Pakistan, he was not in minority community (like in India), so no human right activist and secular journalist came to save him.

- He didnt meet Ekta Kapoor. She could have given him tip to be alive again.

- He didnt request Rajnikant to save him.

- Last but not the least. He trusted Pakistan.

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PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ALL THE PEOPLE YOU KNOW SO THAT WE, AS INDIANS, REALISE WHAT INACTION CAN COST US DEARLY…….!

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