Norway bars Apple from taking 3D aerial photos of Oslo

An official says Apple was not authorised to take aerial photographs due to the level of detail.

Afp August 13, 2013
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks in front of an image of an iPhone 4S at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California October 4, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

OSLO: Norway's intelligence agency has blocked US corporation Apple from flying over Oslo to take 3D aerial photos for its map application, citing national security, officials said on Tuesday.

"I can confirm that Apple was not authorised to take aerial photographs because the level of detail in the shots is considered too high for some of the restricted zones," a spokesperson for the Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM), Mona Stroem Arnoey, said.

"We have however presented Apple with alternative solutions, including buying photos from Norwegian suppliers or from the Norwegian map authorities," she said.

Norway's neighbours Sweden and Denmark have meanwhile granted Apple permission to take aerial photos.

NSM, tasked with protecting Norway from espionage, sabotage or acts of terrorism, refused to comment on the number or nature of restricted zones in Oslo. Photos of these zones provided by Norwegian suppliers are of a lower resolution or blurred.

According to the daily newspaper Aftenposten, the photo ban prompted Oslo's mayor - approached by the US embassy in Norway - to contact the government on Apple's behalf but to no avail.

Apple was heavily criticised for errors in the first map application it developed in-house, and has since come up with its Flyover function that enables users to fly over major cities interactively.

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