Google Gets EU’s Attention Again for Street View Images


If Google hasn’t gotten the message by now then they never will. The European Union has a bee in its bonnet about all things Google. It almost feels like there is an issue du jour as of late. The threat of anti-trust inquiries is the latest to surface out of the regulatory body and just to show that they are paying attention to everything Google does there is some concern over the Google’s Street View again.

The troubles are concerning how long Google keeps raw images in storage. These are the original photos taken that are then altered by blurring any potentially sensitive information like faces and license plate numbers. After this process is done then the photo is put into the Street View system. It’s how long the original images are kept that has the EU concerned. Yahoo! Finance reports

European Union data privacy regulators are telling Google Inc. to warn people before it sends cameras out into cities to take pictures for its Street View maps, adding to the company’s legal worries in Europe.

Google should shorten the time it keeps the original photos from one year to six months, regulators also said in a letter to the company obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday.

In a statement, Google said its need to retain Street View images for one year is “legitimate and justified.”

(I wonder if the people over at Yahoo don’t giggle a bit when they put these stories up but I digress.)

Google has had a rough time with this service in Europe since its inception with Greece demanding they halt the picture taking, German authorities forcing the company to remove images from those who request it and the pitchfork and torch crowd in an English village that attempted to stop the Google Street View car from getting to its appointed rounds.

So it appears that the EU has decided that Google may indeed be evil. While these initial salvos look like shots over the bow this could be laying the groundwork for bigger attacks.

What is your reaction to putting Google under the microscope? Is it warranted? Is it about time? As these events keep happening there will likely more well defined pro v. anti Google camps. Where are you setting up your tent?

  • http://digitivity.org Digitivity

    Well, what would you think of a person (not in a Google T-shirt on a Googlecycle or Googlemobile) who was walking around taking pictures of each and every house on your block. It’s a visceral feeling people have that Google is infringing on their privacy.

    Yet when a large corporation does the same thing, it’s (usually) excused.

    On the other hand, the benefits of Streetview are also undeniable.
    .-= Digitivity´s last blog ..How Microsoft Helps Government Spy on You =-.

  • http://www.thebestkitchenknives.com Francis

    That is really interesting that the EU is being bothered by that. It definitely makes sense, I had just never heard that that caught their attention. I have been a bit contemplative before about the google street view thinking that it was sort of a breach of privacy and how I would not like to be caught in picture. Why exactly is the EU bothered by that? Do you know the details?
    .-= Francis´s last blog ..Chef Knife Sets =-.

  • http://www.stevenduque.com Steven Duque

    A recent Harvard grad’s thoughts on the recent Google-Italy debacle and its illustration of the ideological dichotomy of liberty and privacy between the US and EU:

    http://stevenduque.com/2010/03/liberty-vs-privacy-the-us-eus-ideological-collision-on-the-internet/