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Czechs stop Google's Street View data collection
PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech data protection authorities have stopped Google Inc collecting new images to update Street View, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday, in the latest setback to the search group's mapping service.
Google has sent a fleet of Street View cars around the globe to capture images used with maps to give a panoramic view of streets, but it faces challenges in 37 U.S. states and a number of other countries.
The Czech Office for Personal Data Protection (UOOU) rejected for a second time Google's application to collect personal data in the central European state of 10.5 million, saying the process could potentially break the law, the office and the company said.
UOOU spokeswoman Hana Stepankova said the decision would not ban Google from using photographs already taken since the Czech launch of Street View in October 2009. She also said talks over the use of data would continue.
"We do not have complete certainty the information is being processed according to law," Stepankova said, adding the office could consider granting Google permission if it could ensure the process can be done legally.
The decision follows a German ruling last month that allowed Germans to keep images of themselves off the site.
Czechs can already request their images are blurred out, but there is still a question over the use of car registration plates or facades of houses appearing on Street View, which covers the capital Prague and three other cities.
Google's Czech branch said in a statement it would respect the decision but noted it was not definitive.
"We will continue to closely cooperate with UOOU and we believe the matter will be resolved in the near future," the company said. The data office first rejected Google's application in December last year.
(Writing by Jason Hovet; Editing by David Holmes)
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