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Google Street View halted in Japan and Greece due to privacy

The European Union’s Data Protection Directive strikes again…  This time it’s Google.  The BBC reports Google’s Street View vision of mapping the whole of Europe, benefiting locals and tourists has hit the skids in Greece.  The Grecian Data Protection Agency (DPA), responsible for guaranteeing compliance with the EU privacy directive, want more information regarding the length of time Google plans on keeping the data, and what measures they will take to inform Greeks of their privacy rights.

“Google takes privacy very seriously, and that’s why we have put in place a number of features, including the blurring of faces and licence plates, to ensure that Street View will respect local norms when it launches in Greece,” a Google statement read.

A similar situation occurred in Japan.  PC World reports that in Japan, Google will re-shoot Street View in several cities due to privacy complaints.

At issue was the fact that Google’s Street View cameras were mounted so high they were shooting over private fences and into Japanese homes. Google says it will lower its cameras by 16 inches for its re-shoot and for all future Street View photographs in Japan.

The search giant has tackled several issues with their Street View technology since it’s original roll-out two years ago.  A year ago, Google introduced face blurring technology to preserve the privacy of pedestrians in population centers such as New York.  A couple of months ago, we at the CIPP Guide noticed the Google Street View face blurring was not working – it was either spotty in its coverage, or simply turned off.  Google claims they are working with the local privacy authorities in each country before they do any Street View photography.  Greece’s DPA is asking the hard questions, and it will be interesting to hear Google’s final response.

The European Union guarantees privacy as a fundamental right to all EU citizens through the Data Protection Directive.  Find more CIPP Guide stories concerning the EU’s Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC.


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