The UK’s Times online has a longish article that details many of the censored bits in Géoportail, trying hard not to engage in a bit of needling along the way:
Millions of French internet users are zooming in on aerial views of their holiday houses with a new state web service, but not Jacques Chirac.
The Château de Bity, a country home in the Corrèze that the President rarely visits, is blanked out, along with the surrounding village.
Etc… Elsewhere, the Times gets its facts quite wrong:
At the request of the US Government, Google blurs detail on a few American locations, including the residence of Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, but not the White House. India, Israel and other states have also put pressure on Google to hide sites that could be valuable to enemies or terrorists, but nowhere have so many zones simply been blanked out as on Geoportail’s France.
Just to set the record straight, then: Google doesn’t censor its imagery. It buys imagery from providers that are subject to national laws, but it is quite free to shop around for the best data, and often it does so. Nor have India, Israel or any other country successfully lobbied Google to remove or censor content in its database, as far as I know. Why is it that this particular piece of information can be almost relied upon to be misreported?