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This article was published on August 7, 2008


Google plants forests in Holland: amateurish censorship in Maps

Google plants forests in Holland: amateurish censorship in Maps
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

The controversial Dutch blog GeenStijl (translation: no style, wiki here) received an anonymous tip today saying Google censors certain parts of their Maps. We’re not talking about the regular “Google Blur” that hides military bases and government buildings, but a different – more evil so you want – kind of censorship. The thing is, the Mountain View-based company plants forests in Holland. Some Google employee has replicated a small part of forest to hide a certain object on the terrain of Castle Engelenburg near Eerbeek, Gelderland.

And there also is a second bush, left from the water, that also doesn’t exist. Livemaps, the mapping service by Microsoft, also shows a forest, but this one looks “better”.

According to GeenStijl, neighbors say there was “something weird” going on with European subsidies and nature areas. Anyhow, Google Maps secretly censors its satellite photos, that’s for sure.