My Wobbly Weblog

Google Street View

Posted on: January 15, 2009

There has been a lot of press coverage relating to potential infringements of individuals’ privacy following the launch of Google Street View.  So far, this is only available in the US, but it is due to be launched in other European countries and Google camera cars have been seen in the UK.  I would be concerned, as many are, that face blurring technology is not enough to disguise people and that it would be possible to identify individuals despite these measures.  Also, I’d be concerned that Google may continue to hold images with the faces of passers by/number plates etc. unblurred, or would at least hold these images for a limited period until the face blurring technology can be applied.    This would be a particular concern for people who have a good reason to keep their location secret, for example people who have fled a violent relationship or witnesses to violent crimes.  As Google has already discovered, the whole project is a potential minefield!  I imagine that groups such as Liberty would also be concerned about Street View, though a quick look at their website hasn’t uncovered anything on this.  It will be interesting to see how this unfolds, particularly if there are further legal actions against Google.

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