Google’s new Street View service was this week given the go ahead in the UK after the service was given the okay forms the privacy watchdog. The service had attracted opposition from civil liberties campaigners concerned that that the service would infringe on individual’s right to privacy and break data protection laws.
The Street View system will take photos of streets at ground level to provide users of Google maps with a ground level view of the location they are viewing.
The information commissioner said in a statement that it was “satisfied” Google had put safeguards in place to avoid risking anyone’s privacy or safety. These safeguards include blurring the faces of people and number plates of vehicles.
The statement read – “Although it is possible that in certain limited circumstances an image may allow the identification of an individual, it is clear that Google are keen to capture images of streets and not individuals.”
It was also reiterated that due to the time delay between picture and update to the web, the service could not be used as a tracking tool.
The Street View tool has already been launched in the US in 2007 with ground views of a selection of major cities. It has since expanded it reach and is now looking to expand the service internationally.
Street View cars have been seen throughout the UK but Google has yet to reveal when pictures will be added to UK maps.
Google said of the ruling – “We’ve always said we will not launch in UK until we are comfortable Street View complies with local law,” they added, “and that we will use technology, like face-blurring, licence plate blurring and operational controls, such as image removal tools, so Street View remains useful and in keeping with local norms wherever it is available.”