ICO: Google Street View doesn’t breach privacy

The Information Commissioner has ruled that Google Street View is not a threat to personal privacy.

The UK privacy protection group Privacy International had called for the service to be shut down while the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), had another look.

However according to the Guardian, the ICO said it was satisfied that Google was not breaching privacy laws, and dismissed the argument that Google Street View needed consent.

The ICO was quoted as saying: "If consent were required by the law, then the producers of say, Match of the Day, would have to gain the consent of all people attending televised football matches who might be caught on camera."

Since its release in the UK, Google Street View has had a difficult time of it. There was an backlash with several images having to be removed in its first 24 hours, while later on villagers blocked a Google Street View car.

However, the ICO said it would keep the issue under review and address issues by individuals who believed that Google did not remove problematic images.

It said: "In our opinion there is no clear evidence that the community finds Street View particularly harmful and insidious."

In a statement, a Google spokesperson said that millions of people had found Google Street View to be am important tool.

The spokesperson said: "We're proud of our policies and track record protecting the privacy of our users, and we're pleased that the ICO has said once again that it is satisfied with the privacy safeguards in Street View.

"We are also pleased that Privacy International has recognised our swift and responsible responses to issues raised by the public, and that they have decided not to appeal the ICO's decision."

Privacy International did not offer comment to IT PRO by time of writing, but the Guardian said the group was "disappointed" at the findings and that the response lacked the rigour to protect the UK from becoming a surveillance society.