Why Digital India rejecting Google Street View is absurd
The Indian government is reluctant to truly embrace the change.
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India rejected Google's long-pending application to bring Street View service to country. It's a service that was launched in 2007.
It is popular, is available in more than 50 countries, including most of the developed world, and is reaching more places. India is not going to be one of these places.
India believes that the Google Street View is a security risk. It seems valid enough reason on paper. But in reality it doesn't make any sense.
Just the way it doesn't make any sense to not allow Apple exemption, at least temporary, from the local sourcing norms for its iconic stores; or not allow it to sell the refurbished iPhones in the country.Refurbished iPhones too suffer the same fate.
At a time when the Digital India is a buzzword, it is also rather baffling. Away from the entire buzz about internet, e-commerce, e-services and everything digital, deep within the seat of the Indian government there is a reluctance to truly embrace the change.
The case of the Street View is particularly curious. Google has been denied something that a few other Indian companies are already doing. Even the security angle doesn't wash. A country like Israel, which believes that its very existence is a day-to-day matter, has allowed Street View.
Worst, there is the whole delay. Google tried bringing the Street View in India in 2011. Its cars, with their bid cameras that create street view imagery, took relevant permissions and started running around in Bangalore, the city which was probably going to be the first Indian city in the service.
But as the buzz around it grew, clarifications were sought and its application was put on pause. Five years later, the company's application has been rejected. The whole thing, along with Apple's struggles with the Indian regulators, also shows the difficulty of doing business in India.
The regulatory framework is ambiguous, processes can take years and proposals can be rejected on whims and fancies. It's not something new. It's just that we thought the Digital India would be different. It is not.
(Courtesy of Mail Today.)