Now, the company (Google, of course) that has set out to digitize everything from ocean bottoms to outter space has received a warning from the European Union that it needs to do more to warn people before sending out cameras to record images for its popular Street View feature.
According to the Associated Press, the European Union not only asked the search engine to provide more notice, but also to shorten the time it keeps these photos on file. Currently, Google keeps the images for one year and EU regulators requested this be shortened to six months. Google said in a statement that the year-long period is “legitimate and justified”.
Special software blurs faces and license plates to help prevent identifying information from showing up on the site, which has been known to catch some embarrassing moments.
Already, the company has backed out of Greece and agreed to remove raw images of Germany. The EU cited “high standards for data protection” in its warning, saying that “all companies play according to the rules of the game.”
If Google was offering some kind of live street view, or even near live, I could understand the fuss. But Street View is nowhere near live (and it’s hard to see how it could be). I’ve just looked at my old house in Swansea: my car is still in the drive, my wife is still crosing the road — a good eighteen months after I left the place.
I’m all for data protection, but let’s get a grip.