Street View may break European Union laws

Google has been warned about breaching Europeans' right to privacy and it has received a stiff letter warning it of what it can and can't do in the European Union.

The letter was sent earlier this month by the interestingly-titled Article 29 Data Protection Working Party but has just now found its way into hacks' hands.

In the letter, Google was told the reduce the length of time it keeps its original StreetView photos - down from a year to six months. The evil search outfit should also warn people before it sends its spy car down people's streets snapping them willy-nilly, the Eurocrats warned.

Google was told it was "disproportionate to retain unblurred copies of the images for one year," according to those who have seen the letter from Alex Tuerk, president of the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party. He told Google to "take positive measures to avoid capturing images of a sensitive nature", or those with "intimate details".

The Article 29 group noted that it is "concerned that Street View continues to give rise to data-protection issues".

Google reckons its "need to retain the unblurred images is legitimate and justified... to build better maps products for our users".

Strangely, Europe would prefer that Google's products didn't break privacy laws.

Google shief Eric Schmidt implied last year that only those who worry about privacy have something to hide.

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," he told CNBC.

"The reality is, he said, "that search engines - including Google - do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."