Google Defends Street View, Promises To Comply With Canadian Law
Google's Street View came under a lot of criticism, as Canadian authorities feared that the application would not meet the legal requirements when launched in Canada. The search giant now replies that Street View will tweaked so that it would comply with the local laws.
September 25, 2007
“[…]we've always said that Street View will respect local laws wherever it is available and we recognize that other countries strike a different balance between the concept of "public spaces" and individuals' right to privacy in those public spaces”.
“Street View isn't available outside of the US yet, but when it is, we'll be sure to respect local laws. We understand that means that we'll have to ensure that there aren't identifiable faces and license plates in some countries. There's an important public policy debate in every country around what privacy means in public spaces. That balance will vary from country to country, and Street View will respect it.”
Nevertheless, Fleischer doesn’t forget to defend his initial position and stress out that the US legislation is much more permissive:
“In the US, there's a long and noble tradition of "public spaces," where people don't have the same expectations of privacy as they do in their homes. This tradition helps protect journalists, for example. So we have been careful to only collect images that anyone could see walking down a public street.”
The debate was started by Canadian Federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart, who warned Google in an open letter that Street View would break Canada's 2004 Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act if made available in the country.
According to the Canadian law, collecting, using and disclosing personal information about people is only possible with their consent and will only be used for the purpose for which individuals gave consent.