Vomit, Sex Shops And Toddlers Cause Google Uproar

Dennis Faas's picture

The debut of Google's Street View technology in the United Kingdom has not gone smoothly. Besides general privacy complaints and claims of hypocrisy, there have been some embarrassing images taken of British society.

The service goes one step beyond the aerial views which were recently praised for saving lives in Australia. Street View uses millions of images to display a picture somewhat similar to what users would see if they stood in the relevant street. Already popular in other countries, it launched in the UK last week covering 25 major cities.

The idea is that all faces, along with car license plates, are blurred out. But Google has already removed 'dozens' of photos after complaints by individuals that they felt they were personally identifiable.

Google records your embarrassing moments

Some of the images removed include a man leaving an 'adult' shop; another photo showed a man sitting at a bus stop vomiting, accompanied by a friend wearing novelty antlers.

On a more serious note, recent pictures also included a three-year-old child playing naked in a park. The Information Commissioners Office -- the government-backed privacy watchdog which previously gave a thumbs up to the principle of Street View -- said it may investigate the service if there are further privacy issues involving children. (Source: telegraph.co.uk)

Service incites legal questions

There have also been legal questions about the site, with claims that Google broke laws against taking pictures of people for a commercial purpose without their permission.

Google believes this doesn't apply to its situation and points out that every shot it took was from a public place. That has led to claims of hypocrisy, with the discovery that Google's UK head Dennis Woodside's home was not photographed because he lives in a "private development," which is inaccessible from public streets. (Source: timesonline.co.uk)

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