Google faces Belgium lawsuit for not blurring military sites, nuclear plants on maps

Belgium plans to sue Google over the tech behemoth’s refusal to blur sensitive military sites and nuclear power plants, a military spokesman confirmed on Friday.

The search giant has blurred out or hidden other sensitive or classified installations that could compromise security if revealed on Google Earth, Street View and Google Maps. The Australian website compiled a list of such sites in 2016.

“The Ministry of Defence will sue Google,” a spokeswoman told Reuters, without giving further details.

According to Gizmodo, the major platforms involved in Belgium’s complaint rely on third-party images, and Google is thus far unwilling to alter those images.


“It’s a shame the Belgium Department of Defense have decided to take this decision,” Michiel Sallaets, a spokesman for Google in Belgium, told Reuters.

“We have been working closely with them for more than two years, making changes to our maps where asked and legal.”

Although laws vary from country to country, Google has shown itself able to adapt to a locality’s privacy laws in order to gain access to its market.

Most recently, the company has taken flak for allegedly planning a censored search engine in China codenamed Project Dragonfly—which would reportedly filter out a range of terms and link searches to users’ phone numbers in the repressive country.