Google Map Violates EU Privacy Laws

The EU data protection chief cautioned Google that the “Street View” feature on its Google Map can run up against European Privacy law if it is launched in EU countries.

“Taking pictures on a street isn’t in itself a problem but taking pictures anywhere can be. We have sent a very strong message to Google and other Internet search companies in our report on search engines about complying with European privacy laws,” EU data protection supervisor Peter Hustinx said during a press conference, according to IDG News Service.

Google’s Street View offers ground-level, 360-degree views of streets in 30 U.S. cities. It has become popular among drivers but created controversy over potential privacy invasion. The main concern here is Google Street View’s tendency to catch people walking around in public every so often, permanently documenting their presence in certain areas of town or near certain buildings. Some have felt that this is a massive, public intrusion on privacy if the individuals involved are identifiable.

Google has long maintained that it follows the same rules in the US for “public spaces” that allow journalists to publish photos of people in public, but it is sympathetic to those who would not like to be identified. The company previously offered a way for individuals to request that their faces or license plates be blurred, which Google said usually meets the requirements for privacy.

Source: Ars Technica

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