As Stoddart points out, having random-made snapshots of people made available for everyone to see may contradict Canada’s 2004 Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. The law states clear: businesses that wish to collect, use or disclose personal information about people will do so only if the individual give them their consent. Furthermore, the information will be used or disclosed only for the purpose for which individuals gave consent.

But, as Stoddart points out, “the images […] appear to have been collected largely without the consent and knowledge of the individuals who appear in the images. These images now appear in your company’s Street View application.”

While Google may defend itself by saying that the company allows viewers to request that certain images be removed, but this might not be enough to clear the company. First of all, individuals may not be aware that their images have been made available on Street View. Second, the basic idea of the Canadian law is to prevent such things from happening, because the individuals’ privacy rights may already have been affected by the time the images are removed.

The conclusion is not favorable to Google and it reads the following:

I am concerned that, if the Street View application were deployed in Canada, it might not comply with our federal privacy legislation. In particular, it does not appear to meet the basic requirements of knowledge, consent, and limited collection and use as set out in the legislation.”

It’s rather ironic but Immersive Media, the company that Google has contracted to perform the photographs for Street View, is a Canadian company.