The Ministry of Defence is taking Google to court over the satellite pictures

The Belgian Ministry of defense must file a lawsuit against the Internet giant Google over its practice of refusing to blur some of the Ministry’s locations on its satellite photos on Google maps and Google Earth.

In theory, Google will respond to private requests asking for private addresses, car number plates and even individuals to be blurred on the Street View application of its Google Maps software. The decision is in keeping with Belgian privacy laws.

The same measures are also available to military sites such as the Nato headquarters in Evere and the air-base at Kleine-Brogel in Limburg, the nuclear power stations at Doel and Tihange, and oil installations at the port of Antwerp.

Two years ago, however, the government asked Google to anonymise certain military sites, but without success to date. “Given that we’ve had no success, we’re about to file a complaint,” a spokesperson for the defence ministry said.

Google normally makes a practice of anonymising car registration numbers and people on the street as a matter of course, simple my pixelating any identifying characteristics. Even house numbers can be blurred on request.

The author: Michel THEYS

Michel Theys, a Belgian native, began his career as a civil servant, serving the public for several decades. After retirement, he shifted gears to follow his passion for journalism. With a background in public administration, Theys brought a unique perspective to his reporting. His insightful articles, covering a wide array of topics, swiftly gained recognition. Today, Michel Theys is a respected journalist known for his balanced and thoughtful reporting in the Belgian media landscape.

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