Belgium and the GOOG

December 14, 2018

In 2012, Google cut a deal with Belgium publishers over content scraping. The idea was that indexing public Web sites was not something that put a smile on some Belgium publishers’ faces. Google’s approach to settlements has warranted its own news item on a Harvard Web site.

Belgium — for the most part — is a quiet, western European country that accepts a couple of languages as standard and cranks out pretty good waffles. Apparently, Belgium does not like it when Google exposes its top secret military bases. Yes, I think exposing a nation’s national secrets is a good reason to be mad and sue. Fast Company reports that, “Belgium Is Suing Google Over Satellite Images Of Military Bases” and Google is not listening to them.

Belgium has asked Google to blur out images of its military bases from its satellite photographs. The country has also requested Google blur out its nuclear power plants and air bases as well. Belgium is not happy:

“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.”

A Belgian Google representative explained that his company has worked closely with the Belgium Department of Defense before to change Google’s maps and is disappointed they are now being sued. Google plans to continue working with the Belgian government to resolve the issue.

It is reassuring that Google methods do not discriminate based on the size of a country.

Whitney Grace, December 14, 2018

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