Insights from the UK and beyond
Do you object to Google Street View?
Google’s “Street View” service has survived calls to have it shut down. The UK’s privacy watchdog has ruled that removing the service, which allows users to navigate around a 360-degree view of streets and houses in 25 cities, would be “disproportionate to the relatively small risk of privacy detriment.”
Google promised to obscure images of pedestrians or car licence plates but some slipped through the net. The media reported a number of embarrassing images including a man walking out of a sex shop and another being sick outside a pub.
The residents of one village, meanwhile, tried to block the cameras, claiming the service would allow burglars to scope out their homes. The campaign group Privacy International complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
A spokesperson for the ICO said: “Google Street View does not contravene the Data Protection Act and, in any case, it is not in the public interest to turn the digital clock back.
“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.”
He also said there was no law to stop anyone taking pictures of people in the street, providing they were not harassing them, while members of the public appeared every day on TV reports.
Google has promised to address people’s privacy concerns and said that all requests to remove or black out images would be carried out.
What do you think of Google Street View? Have you used the site? Do you feel that your privacy has been invaded and that it should be shut down? Or do you think it is a fantastic service? Finally, have you been caught on camera?