Belgium is suing Google over satellite images of military bases

By Michael Grothaus

September 28, 2018

The country’s defense ministry says it will sue Google for not blurring its satellite images of sensitive military sites, reports Reuters. The ministry said it had previously contacted Google with a request to obscure air bases and nuclear power plants in the search giant’s library of satellite imagery, but so far Google has yet to comply.

The defense ministry made the request citing national security. It’s not clear why Google has not honored that request, as it is a standard one for governments to make of the search giant, which in the past had no problem obscuring images of sensitive military sites. We’ve reached out to Google for comment and will update this post if we hear back.

Update: Michiel Sallaets, spokesperson for Google in Belgium, has released the following statement:

“It’s a shame the Belgium Department of Defense have decided to take this decision. We have been working closely with them for more than two years, making changes to our maps where asked and legal under Belgian law. We plan to continue working with them in that spirit of cooperation.”

Google’s general blurring policies for their map products can also be found here.