Google Street View worker held hostage in Thailand

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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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. 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...

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.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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