Czech Republic Halts Google Street View Photo Collection

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The Czech Office for Personal Data Protection refused to grant Google permission to collect photos to update Street Views, according to reports published by Reuters and the Associated Press. The reports quoted Hana Stepankova, a spokesperson for the Czech agency, as saying that collecting the pictures could potentially violate the country's data protection laws.

Stepankova said the agency's decision does not prohibit Google from using photos taken in October 2009, according to the Reuters story.

The Czech decision is the latest headache for Google ever since the company disclosed in May that it had inadvertently collected more than 600 gigabytes of data, including e-mails and Web addresses, about people's online activities through unsecured Wi-Fi networks while developing Street View.

The collected data has led to investigations and lawsuits by authorities in several European countries, including Germany and France, and in several states over whether Google's practices violated data privacy laws.

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Street View, launched in 2006, lets Internet users see panoramic street scenes on Google Maps.

Last month police in South Korea raided Google's offices in Seoul searching for evidence that Google may have illegally collected and stored personal wireless data in that country while developing a South Korean version of Street View.