Google Street View worker held hostage in Thailand

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Street_View_CarAnd you’re just doing your job. It all happened on August 13 in Sa-eab village in Phrae province. Around 20 residents surrounded a Google camera-equipped car that was set out to take pictures for Google’s Earth map programme.

Deeprom Phongphon, the driver, got out of his passenger seat, and was accused under the notion that he was a government spy – surveying an unwanted dam project; a damning trouble, as the locals are vocal with their long-running dam protests.

Phongphon was first escorted to a regional office where he was interrogated about his motives and the suspicious looking vehicle he drove. Afterwards, he was taken to a temple and was forced to swear on a statue of Buddha that he was not working for the dam project; he was told that if he lied that bad luck would face him within a week.

Shortly after releasing Phongphon, the community apologised on Facebook for the misunderstanding.

“[We] apologise 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.”

In response, a Google spokesperson said the company “sometimes encounters unexpected challenges, and Street View has been no exception,” adding that it “abides by Thailand’s local laws, and only features imagery taken on public property.”

It is no surprise; Google has been facing a lot of scrutiny lately for privacy related issues. In March 2013, the company shelled out $7 million over a privacy lawsuit involving WiFi data interceptions.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

And you’re just doing your job. It all happened on August 13 in Sa-eab village in Phrae province. Around 20 residents surrounded a Google camera-equipped car that was set out to take pictures for Google’s Earth map programme.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Street_View_CarAnd you’re just doing your job. It all happened on August 13 in Sa-eab village in Phrae province. Around 20 residents surrounded a Google camera-equipped car that was set out to take pictures for Google’s Earth map programme.

Deeprom Phongphon, the driver, got out of his passenger seat, and was accused under the notion that he was a government spy – surveying an unwanted dam project; a damning trouble, as the locals are vocal with their long-running dam protests.

Phongphon was first escorted to a regional office where he was interrogated about his motives and the suspicious looking vehicle he drove. Afterwards, he was taken to a temple and was forced to swear on a statue of Buddha that he was not working for the dam project; he was told that if he lied that bad luck would face him within a week.

Shortly after releasing Phongphon, the community apologised on Facebook for the misunderstanding.

“[We] apologise 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.”

In response, a Google spokesperson said the company “sometimes encounters unexpected challenges, and Street View has been no exception,” adding that it “abides by Thailand’s local laws, and only features imagery taken on public property.”

It is no surprise; Google has been facing a lot of scrutiny lately for privacy related issues. In March 2013, the company shelled out $7 million over a privacy lawsuit involving WiFi data interceptions.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
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  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid