Europe

Norway bars Apple from taking aerial photos of Oslo

This photo taken on Augut 27, 2010 shows the skyline of Oslo's waterfront and entertainment area. Norway's intelligence agency has blocked US company Apple from flying over Oslo to take 3D aerial photos for its map application, citing national security.

This photo taken on Augut 27, 2010 shows the skyline of Oslo's waterfront and entertainment area. Norway's intelligence agency has blocked US company Apple from flying over Oslo to take 3D aerial photos for its map application, citing national security.  (AFP/File)

Norway's intelligence agency has blocked US company Apple from flying over Oslo to take 3D aerial photos for its map application, citing national security, officials said Tuesday.

"I can confirm that Apple was not authorised to take aerial photographs because the level of detail in the shots is considered too high for some of the restricted zones," a spokeswoman for the Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM), Mona Stroem Arnoey, said.

"We have however presented Apple with alternative solutions, including buying photos from Norwegian suppliers or from the Norwegian map authorities," she said.

Norway's neighbours Sweden and Denmark have meanwhile granted Apple permission to take aerial photos.

NSM, tasked with protecting Norway from espionage, sabotage or acts of terrorism, refused to comment on the number or nature of restricted zones in Oslo.

Photos of these zones provided by Norwegian suppliers are of a lower resolution or blurred.

According to the daily newspaper Aftenposten, the photo ban prompted Oslo's mayor -- approached by the US embassy in Norway -- to contact the government on Apple's behalf but to no avail.

Apple was heavily criticised for errors in the first map application it developed in-house, and has since come up with its Flyover function that enables users to fly over major cities interactively.

Contacted by AFP, Apple was not immediately available for a comment.

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