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Canadian official says Google Maps might breach privacy law

The Inquirer | September 14, 2007
Egan Orion

GOOGLE MAPS' Street View feature could violate Canadian privacy law, Canada's Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddard has warned.

Street View provides close-up views of city streets that include, in some instances, recognisable images of people. Google introduced the feature in May with panoramic, high-definition views of nine US cities, in partnership with Canadian firm Immersive Media.

But commissioner Stoddard wrote to Google and Immersive Media in August, saying that if the Street View product were expanded to Canada without modification, it could violate Canada's privacy law.

Canada's privacy law requires businesses to obtain a person's consent before disclosing any personal information about them. Stoddard said recognizable images of people could be considered personal information.

"The [Street View] images... appear to have been collected largely without the consent and knowledge of the individuals who appear in the images," she wrote.

In Canada, it seems that taking a photograph of someone in public might constitute an invasion of privacy. Oh, Canadia.

More here .

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