Greece Halts Google’s Street View

Hugh Pickens writes “Greece’s Data Protection Authority, which has broad powers of enforcement for Greece’s strict privacy laws, has banned Google from gathering detailed, street-level images in Greece for a planned expansion of its Street View mapping service, until the company provides clarification on how it will store and process the original images and safeguard them from privacy abuses. The decision comes despite Google’s assurances that it would blur faces and vehicle license plates when displaying the images online and that it would promptly respond to removal requests. In most cases, particularly in the US, Google has been able to proceed on grounds that the images it takes are no different from what someone walking down a public street can see and snap. And last month, Britain’s privacy watchdog dismissed concerns that Street View was too invasive, saying it was satisfied with such safeguards as obscuring individuals’ faces and car license plates. The World Privacy Forum, a US-based nonprofit research and advisory group, said the Greek decision could raise the standard for other countries and help challenge that argument. ‘It only takes one country to express a dissenting opinion,’ says Pam Dixon, the group’s executive director. ‘If Greece gets better privacy than the rest of the world then we can demand it for ourselves. That’s why it’s very important.'”

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