Uma equipe do Google que captava imagens para o Google Street View foi detido por moradores de uma vila na Tailândia e somente liberada após jurar a uma estátua do Buda que não estava levantando dados para construir uma barragem na região.

Segundo o jornal “The Guardian”, a empresa confirmou o incidente, que ocorreu no vilarejo de Sa-eab, que fica no norte do país e a 615 km da capital Bangkok. Cerca de 20 moradores bloquearam o veículo da companhia de internet que faz o registro das imagens. Moradores e ambientalistas lutam há tempos contra uma barragem que vai inundar boa parte do território.

Os moradores são contra a instalação de uma barragem na região e acharam que o carro estivesse filmando para a construtora responsável pelo projeto. O site “Prachatai” publicou uma nota do representante dos moradores se desculpando com o Google. “[Nós] pedimos desculpas ao oficial, ao Google, assim como ao povo tailandês e aos cidadãos do mundo”, escreveu.

Além de enfrentar problemas para captar as imagens para o serviço, o Google teve também que explicar na Justiça o recolhimento sem consentimento de dados pessoais feitos pelo equipamento.

Por meio de um equipamento acoplado ao veículo que transmitia as imagens para os servidores do Google, a companhia acessou redes domésticas de redes Wi-Fi que não necessitavam de senha e recolheu algumas informações pessoais de brasileiros.

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Internet giant Google’s Street View project, which has raised privacy concerns in several countries, has ignited a minor uproar in northern Thailand, where villagers suspected its cameras were surveying for an unwanted dam project. Google’s regional communications manager Taj Meadows said Wednesday that the company was aware of the incident in Sa-eab village in Phrae province, in which about 20 residents blocked a Google camera-equipped car. Google’s project takes photos to accompany its Google Earth map program.

The Manager newspaper reported that the villagers took the vehicle’s driver to a local office to quiz him, then to a temple where they made him swear on a statue of Buddha that he was not working for the dam project. The Prachatai news website said the villagers released the driver and later apologized to him and to Google. Sa-eab village, 385 miles north of Bangkok, is known for its long-running dam protests by villagers and environmental groups.

“(We) apologize to the official, to Google, as well as to the Thai people throughout the nation and to the citizens of the world,” the villagers’ representatives wrote. They explained that they were “extremely worried and there had been so many repeated cases that convinced the villagers to believe someone was trying to survey the area in disguise.”

Google Street View has run into problems in some other countries where there are concerns it captures too much information that should be private. The project’s technology also scoops up Wi-Fi radio signals, and Britain’s data regulator in June ordered the company to delete personal data it gathered that way, or face a contempt of court action.

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