ICO Clears Google Street View Of Privacy Violation

Google Street View has been given the all clear by the privacy watchdog in the UK, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) following a complaint by privacy advocate group, Privacy International.

The organisation's senior data-protection practice manager, David Evans said that there's no law against anyone taking pictures of people in the street, as long as the camera is not harassing people and that it is not in the public interest to turn back the "digital clock".

He further added that in a world where many people tweet, facebook and blog, it was important to take a common-sense approach towards Street View and the relatively limited intrusion it may cause.

PI appealed to the Information Commissioner following Google Street View release, saying that the popular online service violated the privacy rights of British citizens.

Scores of people had complained that their faces were recognisable, a clear indication that Google's blurring technology was still not perfect.

Google did provide with a clear procedure to remove the pictures quickly from its database. But this didn't prevent many from fearing that Google's Big Brother cameras could be a useful tool for criminals and burglars.

Villagers in Broughton, near Milton Keynes, even went as far as blocking a Google Street View car to prevent him from entering the village. But the ICO defended its decision saying that the publication of pictures by Google Street View is similar to football fan's faces captured during live Football or other sporting events.

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Our Comments

The ICO is right to leave the service up and running and left political correctness at the door. Many will not agree, but then, Google offers them the ability to complain so as to remove the pictures. The tens of thousands of CCTV around Britain do not.

Related Links

Britain OKs Google street-mapping

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/04/23/Britain-OKs-Google-street-mapping/UPI-82231240510299/

UK rejects privacy group's gripes about Google Street View

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/04/google-street-view-still-ok-in-the-uk.ars

All clear for Google Street View

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8014178.stm

UK privacy watchdog clears Google Street View

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5joT1RHtnnKGTNYtVySS6u0Fi02GQD97OAHVG0

Google Street View doesn't invade privacy says ICO

http://www.which.co.uk/news/2009/04/google-street-view-doesnt-invade-privacy-says-ico-174800.jsp

Google Street View to stay, says ICO

http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2009/04/23/235771/google-street-view-to-stay-says-ico.htm

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http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/Google_Street_View_as_legal_as_street_photography_says_watchdog_news_281322.html

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