Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Privacy Your Rights Online

EU Says Google Street View Violates Privacy 300

Posted by kdawson
from the watch-where-you-point-that-thing dept.
upto0013 notes the latest spot of trouble for Google in Europe: the EU says that Google's Street View images violate privacy laws. The EU's privacy watchdog asked Google to notify cities and towns before photographing (Google says it does this already) and to delete original photos after 6 months (Google keeps them for a year and says it has reason to do so). "[T]he privacy official] said that the company should revise its 'disproportionate' policy of keeping the original unblurred images for up to a year, saying improvements in Google's blurring technology and better public awareness would lead to fewer complaints — and a shorter delay for people to react to the photos they see on the site. Complaints about the images put online would usually be checked against the original photos."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

EU Says Google Street View Violates Privacy

Comments Filter:
  • by yttrstein (891553) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:38PM (#31287514) Homepage
    You know, the EU has a lot of nerve coming down on google for "privacy violations"; the same body who seems to have exactly no problem at all with Britain's blatant and constant violations, and they've actually been a MEMBER of the EU since 1973.

    All politics, no substance, this. Moot, meaningless, next.
  • by josepha48 (13953) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:40PM (#31287538) Journal
    It's not like they are photographing the insides of peoples houses. They are photographing the streets and outsides of peoples houses. So unless they are hopping over walls of gated communities we are talking public spaces here. I must be missing something here, cause I don't get it! I can understand inside your house is your place, but outside your house is public space. Well unless they have to drive up a private driveway to get pictures of the driveway and if that is the case, it should be marked private property.
  • Who's next ? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by tom_75 (1013457) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:42PM (#31287588)
    "Ok, my fellow Europeans, we're done milking Microsoft for now. Who else do you know that rakes in over 6 billion greenies a year ? Hit them with a 10 digit, boys !"
  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:45PM (#31287656) Journal

    Technical incapability isn't an excuse to break laws.

  • Do a second pass! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Extremus (1043274) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:46PM (#31287660)
    They could do two passes on places and use the double collected data in order remove people and other movable things. I think this is and practically theoretically feasible.
  • On the other hand (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:46PM (#31287672)

    What a difference it is to hear about a government (or quasi-government) fight for the privacy rights of citizens.

    Here in the Land of the Free, we've just about given up that right. Thanks Osama, you motherfucker. You too, Bush.

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:48PM (#31287722)

    Privacy "watch dogs" in the UK are concerned, but the 300 CCTV cameras per block aren't a problem?

  • by twidarkling (1537077) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:49PM (#31287724)

    "Officer, I was clearly standing on the street with my camera. It's not my fault that the girl was naked in her bedroom. She shouldn't have left the curtains open."

    There's Peeping Tom laws in many places, for one thing, and there's lots of instances of individual efforts being acceptable where organized efforts are held to be unacceptable. For instance, refreshing on a site. One person does it, they're checking for new content. Many people do it, it's a DDoS.

  • Re:Who's next ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:51PM (#31287768)

    "Ok, my fellow senators, we're done sucking the cooperate tit of Microsoft for now. Who else do you know that rakes in over 6 billion greenies a year ? Hit them with a government bailout, boys !"

  • by twidarkling (1537077) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:53PM (#31287802)

    Please try to come up with something more important than this! This absolutely rediculous because publishing a photo in a newspaper could also be an infringement of privacy!

    Except that it's consistently been held that for purposes of reporting something in the public interest is greater than an individual's privacy, and they *still* need to do due diligence in getting photographic releases for certain things. There's no news value in Google's Street View, and it's more pervasive. It's not a single picture, it's multiple pictures, angles, and setting.

  • by CraftyJack (1031736) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:58PM (#31287892)
    I should look into copyrighting my house. Maybe I'll paint text all over it, and then copyright that.

    I must be missing something here, cause I don't get it!

    If there were a picture of my house in your personal photo albums, I would find that very weird. If I found you outside my house taking pictures of it from the street, I would feel vaguely threatened and would want to know what your motives were. If you told me that you were going to post them to make money and asserted your right to stand there taking pictures of my house, I would probably call the cops.

  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:01PM (#31287922)
    Are you kidding me?! If you are sitting out somewhere where john Q public can walk by and see you in the buff, how much could you possibly really care about your privacy? Hey, if you don't want people to know that you sit naked on your porch, stop doing it! They can see you!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:06PM (#31288034)

    Driving or walking by and seeing something is one thing. But being able to "see" via a computer database is another. Why? Because it allows the tying in of other data instantaneously and it enables the viewer to make connections, insights, conclusions, prejudices or whatever that would not be possible by the casual looker.

    Here's a precedent: the collection of data by the credit bureaus.
    In the beginning, those organizations were designed to allow for easy credit - before you needed letters of recommendation and references. Now, that data is included by ChoicPoint/Lexus Nexus and now everyone is doing background checks on people - because it's so damn easy now. Nothing to hide and you're OK? Ha!

    When you go for a job, for example, even if the position has nothing to do with handling money, the employers do a credit check at the minimum. Bad credit or a lot of debt, say from student loans, you are denied a position. Basically you are denied employment for getting an education. The same goes for flying - a lot of debt raises a yellow flag with the TSA - extra screening! Auto insurance. HEALTH insurance! Cell plans. The list goes on some more.....

    The more information that's collected, the more people with access to that information have to use against you. That's the reality of life these days.

  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:06PM (#31288042)

    Higher than a double decker bus?

  • by paimin (656338) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:08PM (#31288072)
    Blame the leaders if that makes you feel better, but we're the ones that give it up, like a $5 whore.
  • by Necron69 (35644) <jscott.farrow@gmai l . com> on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:09PM (#31288088)

    "If you told me that you were going to post them to make money and asserted your right to stand there taking pictures of my house, I would probably call the cops."

    And in the US anyway, the cops would tell you that this is perfectly legal and to stop filing bogus complaints (or they SHOULD).

    Necron69

  • by Sheik Yerbouti (96423) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:21PM (#31288308) Homepage

    You may feel that way but your feelings don't give you or anyone else the right to violate the rights of others to take pictures in a public place. I am a photographer and I bristle at the suggestion you have that right. Only because a lot of cops and people post 9/11 think that for some reason they do have the right to stop someone taking photographs in a public place. And they do not. Google has a right to do this taking photographs in a public place is legal the EU as usual is harping on companies out of bounds.

    I can't believe the hipocracy what with the thousands of surveillance cameras in EU member state Great Britain. There are actually people watching those specifically to violate the privacy of UK citizens where's the outrage there?

  • by element-o.p. (939033) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:27PM (#31288434) Homepage
    That's pretty much irrelevant. As has been said on /. often enough, once it's posted on the Internet, it's essentially impossible to remove it later*.

    *Unless what is posted is the only surviving copy of some piece of data that is critically important to you (your masters thesis, the open source project that was going to make you more famous than Linus, photographic evidence that bigfoot and/or the Roswell aliens actually exist, etc.). Then no matter how hard you look, it won't be cached anywhere.
  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:27PM (#31288438)

    Future quote from A Lawyer, EU Chief Privacy Officer:

    "No-one is perfect. In the real world, people occasionally make mistakes, and reveal things publicly that they did not expect or intend to share with the world. As you demonstrate no willingness to take this into account, we are imposing draconian laws that basically kill your business model. If your business model dies because many people will find it offensive, maybe you shouldn't have been doing it in the first place."

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:31PM (#31288524) Journal

    Also forcing you to give-up your encryption key, or else be placed in jail.
    It doesn't matter if you're innocent - guilt is assumed.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:36PM (#31288606) Journal

    It would be a little more reasonable to say that "If you have something you don't want anyone to see, don't display it in a public area."

  • by paimin (656338) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:38PM (#31288624)
    I didn't say you gave it up by voting for anyone.
  • by Hatta (162192) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:42PM (#31288688) Journal

    Except that it's consistently been held that for purposes of reporting something in the public interest is greater than an individual's privacy, and they *still* need to do due diligence in getting photographic releases for certain things. There's no news value in Google's Street View

    But there is public interest in having Street View. With street view I can check out actual pictures of the intersections and buildings near my destination, and it's that much easier to find my way around. There are really no privacy implications because you're in public anyway.

  • by twidarkling (1537077) on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:13PM (#31289166)

    No, that's not "public interest." That's your personal interest in making your life easier. The public interest is things which affect the lives of many people, either because the event was deemed illegal, thus against society's morals, and a breach of social contract is notable, even if mundane, or an incident will have far-ranging implications to the lives of many people, such as natural disasters, new laws, etc.

  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:26PM (#31289358)

    They could do two passes on places and use the double collected data in order remove people and other movable things. I think this is and practically theoretically feasible.

    That would be harder than you think. The position of the camera could vary by several feet. If it's a windy day, you have foliage moving around. If the passes are not widely separated in time, many people would be in the same location -- cafe diners and sunbathers come to mind. If the passes are widely separated in time, then you have differences in the angle of the sun and changes in weather to take into account. It's much more difficult than taking a few pictures from a tripod over a couple of minutes and editing out pedestrians and cars.

  • by CraftyJack (1031736) on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:28PM (#31289390)

    I see, did they ask the Google to take down the photos and Google refused to comply or something?

    "Officer, any time I'm speeding, you just let me know and I'll stop doing it, OK? I'm happy to comply."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:31PM (#31289436)

    That's a ridiculously extreme argument. Apply it to every company not just Google and you'll see that doing business is impossible. Perhaps the post office should be banned too, because they can't figure out if you really meant to send the letter or not. I mean damn, I guess we could kiss Slashdot goodbye - who knows if I really intended to hit the submit button?.

    I don't know what you're smoking, but your views are FAR from the mainstream on this one.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:37PM (#31289508)

    That's a ridiculously extreme argument. Apply it to every company not just Google and you'll see that doing business is impossible.

    It's ridiculously extreme to expect a business to follow the law?

    Or to understand that what someone is doing in the grounds of their own home, hidden from normal view by a high wall, should be considered private?

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:01PM (#31290548) Homepage

    "But sir, my business is based on killing for hire, how can I comply with all these anti-murder laws? They must be revoked!"

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday February 26, 2010 @06:22PM (#31291452)

    If you are in view of the public there should never be any expectation of privacy.

    Really? So you'd have no problem with someone following you around everywhere, looking over your shoulder and broadcasting any credit card numbers they could see even momentarily?

    Sitting outside your home and carefully recording when everyone comes and goes, to build up a database of when the home is likely to be undefended^Wunoccupied?

    Or maybe hanging around outside a school, working out which of the little girls walks home on her own?

    Climbing up a ladder outside someone's window, when their curtains are closed, and looking through the slight gap where the fabric doesn't overlap at the top?

    Concealing a video camera in a bag, and carrying it low enough to film up skirts?

    Using official CCTV cameras mounted in public areas to look through second floor apartment windows?

    The world isn't nearly as black and white as you make out, and any useful notion of privacy and public/private places needs to take into account the shades of grey.

  • by Perky_Goth (594327) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [seuqramleugimoluap]> on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:46PM (#31293012) Homepage

    Could you keep your countries definitions out of my country?
    Thank you.

  • by Idiomatick (976696) on Friday February 26, 2010 @10:19PM (#31293822)
    It is a giant ass blue van that is well labeled. And stalking/harassment are illegal.
    If google made a van follow you around they'd be in shit.
    Sitting outside your house for a few days is probably 100% legal unless it falls under stalking laws where you happen to be.
    Hanging out by a school is also legal.
    Putting a ladder against someone's house is illegal.
    Upskirts are illegal and I've no idea how you would upskirt with a van unless you have a thing for giants.
    CCTV cams also legal obviously...

    So yeah, we cannot easily legislate privacy in the situations you listed. So it isn't illegal. So you should expect little or no privacy while in those places. Perhaps buy better blinds. You make it sound like a big deal 'omg they could know when I'm not at home'. But tbh that is happening anyways. If you are worried about someone targeting your child then they shouldn't be walking home alone. Not complicated really.

"Life is a garment we continuously alter, but which never seems to fit." -- David McCord

Working...