19 June 2009

In Germany, Google Will Erase Street View Data on Request

18 06 2009 - You might be wondering what’s new here; after all, Googlehas been blurring Street View imagery containing potentially sensitive data like faces and license plates, on request, for quite a while now.

However, in Germany, there will be a crucial difference, because over there Google has agreed to completely erase such data internally. AP writes:

Google had agreed to erase the raw footage of faces, house numbers, license plates and individuals in Germany who have told authorities they do not want their information used in the service.

This is important from the aspect of privacy. If the image is only blurred, and Google still keeps the unblurred imagery internally, it’s possible for Google to give the imagery to the court if ordered.

There are certain technical implications, too; as Google Blogoscoped has noticed, erasing the data would make it harder for Google to reuse this imagery later for the purpose of statistical analysis, for example.

This is a small victory for groups and individuals who are concerned over Street View invading their privacy, since courts in most other countries have been satisfied with Google’s policy of merely blurring the imagery upon request.


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