Home UK Privacy Watchdog: Google Streetview Can Go Ahead

UK Privacy Watchdog: Google Streetview Can Go Ahead

We reported on the controversy around Google’s Street View in the UK earlier this month. At that time, a number of UK privacy activists had raised concerns over the privacy implications of Street View and challenged Google’s ability to automatically blur faces in the photographs used in the service. According to the BBC, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) investigated these concerns and has now announced that it was “satisfied” with Google’s ability to blur out faces and registration plates.

Google has already started photographing the streets of various English cities, though it is not clear when it will launch Street View in the U.K. When the story first broke, Google announced that it would not release Street View in any country unless it was fully satisfied that it complied with local law. After this announcement from the ICO, there is probably a good chance that Google will go ahead and launch Street View in a relatively short period of time.

For this year’s Tour de France, Google already mapped and photographed the complete route in France and Google’s cars have been spotted in various other countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Spain, as well as Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

In the U.S., Google is currently slowly expanding the service outside of the major metropolitan areas and has started photographing a lot of rural roads as well.

While there will always be some privacy concerns around taking such an enormous amounts of photographs and publishing them online, Google’s technology has proven that it can blur out faces and license plates very effectively.

Image of Street View car by Flickr user byrion.

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