Google Street View slips up on privacy issues in Greece


12 May 2009

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Although Google has already begun mapping streets in Greece with the Google car and its nine directional cameras, as of yesterday it has been ordered by the Greek Government to cease this activity.

The Hellenic Data Protection Authority has asked Google Street View to ensure the protection of individuals’ privacy, wondering how long the search giant intends to keep Street View images on its servers, as well as how it intends to inform citizens of their privacy rights.

As reported by BBC News, Google released a statement saying that it takes user privacy very seriously and added that, as well as using face and car registration plate blurring, it will also respect Greek cultural norms when it launches within the next year.

“Street View has not been banned in Greece,” the search engine company added.

“We have received a request for further information and we are happy to continue discussing these issues with them. We will discuss with them whether it is appropriate for us to continue driving in the meantime.”

This is not the first time there has been controversy over Google’s Street View; when it launched initially in 2007 there was no face blurring or registration plate blurring.

This was not implemented until May 2008, following privacy concerns from citizens, and license plate blurring technology also began to be used soon afterwards.

By Marie Boran

Pictured: the Google Street View car in Athens, courtesy of  Natalia Dimitris X