Authorities in the Czech Republic have banned Google from expanding its mapping feature "Street View" in the eastern European country, an official said Tuesday.
Google Czech Republic said it was not deterred by what it considered a temporary decision, and said the dispute was mostly about technical problems in collecting the photographs used in "Street View" — which provides Internet users with panoramic views and photographs of neighborhoods from various points along many streets across the globe.
"We will continue to closely cooperate" with the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection, "and hope that the issues will be solved in the near future," Google said in a statement. In the meantime, it said it would collect no new data in the country, but that photos taken previously in Prague and other cities were still available.
The U.S. Internet giant has come under fire across Europe, including in Germany, over concerns that it violated people's privacy while taking shots of city streets.
Google also has acknowledged the technology used by its "Street View" cars has inadvertently recorded fragments of people's online activities broadcast over public Wi-Fi networks for the past four years.
The Czech privacy watchdog office refused Google the necessary registration for "Street View" following an investigation that began in April, spokeswoman Hana Stepankova said without elaborating. She said the office would discuss details of the case next week.
The company, based in Mountain View, California, has said it has broken no laws and never used data inadvertently collected from public Wi-Fi networks in more than 30 countries.