Monday, August 04, 2008

Google Maps and privacy

According to Out-Law News:

"Google's Street View service has received the blessing of UK privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner, who has said that the safeguards Google has put in place for people's privacy are 'adequate'.

The Street View service works by taking photographs of a city's streets and publishing them together so that they form a kind of photo-map of a city. It has raised privacy concerns because people are identifiable in the photos.

Google, though, has always said that it will change the service according to the privacy laws of the countries in which it operates. Cameras gathering data for the service have been spotted for the first time on UK streets in recent weeks.

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 ofvehicle registration marks and the faces of anyone included in Streetview images," said a statement from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)."

The Data Protection Act 1998 clearly gives rights to individuals (as data subjects) to request for information held about them and Google would be no exception. The Art 29 Working Party's opinion goes into greater detail over the broad notion of personal data, which one will not elaborate.

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