Google Map’s Street view is running into some legal trouble in Europe according to this article. European Privacy officials are crying foul because Street View might not comply with Europe’s stringent privacy laws. Requirements that they make of Google include that
- Google blurs faces of people in the images
- Google only keeps unblurred images for six months
- Google announces via newspapers, radio and TV (which medium is missing in this list?) when it will go out in the neighborhood to capture images for street view
Is this a case of overzealous privacy officials looking for headlines or is there a legitimate privacy issue? I do support the European approach to privacy, which is based on the assumption that government needs to oversee how businesses treat personal data (as opposed to the American laissez-faire approach), but I wonder if there really is a legitimate privacy concern in the case of Google Street View. These pictures are taken on public streets, what is the exact privacy invasion here? If my car is photographed or if I was photographed walking home with a bag of groceries, would my right to privacy be invaded if I ended up on Google Street View?