Google goes fuzzy
I’m very happy about this: Google has agreed to blur facial images appearing in Street View photographs taken whilst they’ve been busying mapping highways and by-ways around the US and Australia. Regular ThinkingShift readers will know that I’ve been less than impressed with the potential for people to be identified as they go about their daily business. I know a lot of you could care less but something has made Google change its mind. Google says they’ve only received a handful of complaints since they rolled out Street View about a year ago. So why change then? I guess if I were in their shoes I’d be thinking about all the law suits I might face from running up against the European Union’s privacy laws or Canada’s privacy laws for example.
Whatever the reason, Google will apply face-blurring technology to any images of people captured by Street View – so pedestrians, drivers and car registration plates will be made fuzzy. And interestingly this blurring will be retrospectively applied to all Street View images. Google will also remove any offensive images – like numbers 3, 4, 5 and 2 here. So thankfully, some poor dude who is just passing by an adult book shop will not have to explain this to his wife.
In a really smart move, Google has been working with the Australian Privacy Foundation to ensure that mapping images do not step on Australian privacy laws. So for once I can say: Go Google!