Google U.K. Street View Runs Into Privacy Issues - InformationWeek

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3/23/2009
03:18 PM
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Google U.K. Street View Runs Into Privacy Issues

The company over the weekend found itself denying that it had published Street View images depicting naked children.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Google, with its vast digital memory, would seem to be the ideal candidate to break the cycle of repetition. But when it comes to privacy, Google keeps coming back to defend itself.

Following the introduction of Google Maps Street View in the United Kingdom last Thursday, the company over the weekend found itself denying that it had published Street View images depicting naked children.

This came just after Google insisted that rather than allowing burglars to find homes to burgle more easily, Street View actually helps the police solve crimes.

British Information Commission head Richard Thomas, who runs the agency responsible for regulating and enforcing access to and use of personal information, is reportedly considering an investigation into Google's privacy practices, if further images of naked children turn up in Google's U.K. Street View service.

This would be the same Information Commission that, according to a Google blog post on Friday, said, "We are satisfied that Google is putting in place adequate safeguards to avoid any risk to the privacy or safety of individuals, including the blurring of vehicle registration marks and the faces of anyone included in Street View images."

There's some irony here, given the extent of CCTV camera coverage of the United Kingdom, but let's stick to Google.

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