Street View: ICO takes low-key approach

Jeremy Phillips

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has opened a file on Google’s controversial Street View 360 degree street level imagery facility, though it has not at this time taken an official position. A statement on the ICO’s website currently reads:

“Google’s Street View includes a facility which allows vehicle registration marks and faces to be blurred. Individuals who feel that an image does identify them (and are unhappy with this) should contact Google direct to get the image removed. Individuals who have raised concerns with Google about their image being included – and who do not think they have received a satisfactory response – can complain to the ICO”.

No specific mention has at this stage been made of fears expressed in some quarters that the images stored on the Street View database may be used by local authorities as a basis for assessing or revising property valuations for Council Tax purposes, or that they may provide a convenient basis upon which burglars may study properties while unobserved in order to determine possible security weaknesses.

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