KOMPAS.com - Google's Street View service in Brazil has been been flooded with complaints after users were shown graphic images of dead bodies in the streets at several locations.
The website launched in Brazil last week but quickly attracted attention for the wrong reasons when television station Globo G1 broadcast Google-captured images of a corpse covered by a black plastic sheet and surrounded by blood spatters in a Rio de Janeiro street.
In the images, police cars surrounded the body in Belo Horizonte as officers form a cordon and push back members of the public who have gathered outside the street corner shops.
But several websites and internet bloggers reported other similar images in Rio and further afield. On Avenida Presidente Vargas, also in Rio, another image seems to show a body lying in the street that has not yet been found or attended by police.
It is not clear how many images of dead bodies were recorded by the Google Street View cameras but after receiving complaints the internet giant issued a statement declaring that 'all images of the bodies were removed' from the mapping service.
Brazil, the first South American country to be recorded for Street View, is notorious for its drug-related street violence and in 2007 - the most recent statistics available from the United Nations - there were 48,000 murders. In 2010 the U.N. published a report into violent deaths in Brazil by an independent expert.
The document from Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, stated: 'When I visited the country two and a half years ago, I found that the police executed suspected criminals and innocent citizens during poorly planned and counter-productive war-style operations into favelas [shanty towns].
'Off-duty police, operating in death squads and militias, also killed civilians, either as "vigilantes" or for profit.
'Today, the situation on the ground has not changed dramatically.'
Google has faced a variety of problems since creating the virtual mapping system and previously said the images it captures are 'no different to what anyone might expect to see for themselves around the country'.
'Sometimes that means our cars inadvertently capture odd or inappropriate moments as they drive past,' said a spokesperson.
'This is why we have put in place tools so that if people see what they believe to be inappropriate, they can report them to us using the simple reporting tool and the images will be quickly removed or further blurring applied.'
Google is unlikely to come across the same problem when it takes on its next project - mapping Antarctica.