Will Google Street View breach UK's privacy law?

Will Google's Street View breach UK privacy laws?
Will Google's Street View breach UK privacy laws?

Google has stressed that its Street View photo-mapping software – matching photos to mapped locations in Google Maps – will meet European privacy laws at its forthcoming launch.

Google Street View – which has been available in the US for some time already - has been criticised by privacy campaigners, with Privacy International in the UK claiming that the software could breach the UK's data protection laws, if people's faces were identifiable in the photos.

Consent required

"In our view they need a person's consent if they make use of a person's face for commercial ends," Simon Davies, of Privacy International told the BBC.

In response, Google has said that it is using face-blurring tech to ensure that any of the individuals photographed cannot be identified.

Privacy International has requested more details on the face-blurring tech Google claims to be using in Street View.

Face blurring in place

Google's lawyer Jane Horvath responded to Privacy International's concerns, telling the BBC: "We actually launched this technology publicly in early May, when we refreshed our imagery in Manhattan, New York.

"Since then we have applied face blurring to all new imagery launches in the US, including a major launch in June."

Google has yet to confirm a date for release of the UK and other European versions of Google Street View. You can see a video demo of Google Street View on the link to the above right of this news (and while you are there you might want to just check out the guy's lovely orange jump suit - what is that all about?!).

Adam Hartley