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April 23, 2009

Google gets all clear from ICO on Street View

Service does not contravene UK data act: watchdog

By CBR Staff Writer

Controversial photo-mapping service, Google Street View does not contravene the data protection act, the UK’s data security watchdog has ruled today.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said, “In a world where many people tweet, facebook and blog it is important to take a common sense approach towards Street View and the relatively limited privacy intrusion it may cause.” 

It apparently had over 70 written complaints about the service since it launched in March. 

It is understood that most of the objections were about Google’s service displaying images of people’s faces or number plates. 

These should be blurred, the ICO has ruled, and noted that it will watching closely to make sure Google responds quickly to deletion requests and complaints.

In July 2008 the ICO met with Google to discuss how Street View would be implemented. 

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The ICO stressed the importance of including a facility for individuals to report images they were unhappy with, and for now was satisfied that Google was putting in place adequate safeguards to avoid unwarranted intrusions on people’s privacy. 

The ICO said that the context in which it made its assessment of Street View was that it was just a collection of photos of public street scenes. 

As the name clearly suggests, the photos in Street View were of the streets, not the people, and the people simply happened to be on those streets.

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