Canada’s privacy commissioner told Google in August that the feature — which offers a series of panoramic, 360-degree images of nine U.S. cities — could violate Canadian laws if it were introduced without alterations.
Some of the pictures feature people who can clearly be identified, which contravenes Canadian legislation on privacy.
“We are thinking about launching it outside the United States, including Canada, and we’re looking at how it would have to be different in Canada compared to its U.S. version,” said Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel.
“We would launch Street View in Canada in keeping with the principles and requirements of Canadian law … that means we know we’ll have to focus on finding ways to make sure that individual’s faces are not identifiable in pictures taken in Canada and that license plate numbers are not identifiable in Canada,” he told Reuters in an interview.
Google had been approached by a number of Canadian cities seeking to be featured, he said.
Google’s Google Lat Long Blog:responded to concerns on the
In the US, there’s a long and noble tradition of “public spaces,” where people don’t have the same expectations of privacy as they do in their homes. This tradition helps protect journalists, for example. So we have been careful to only collect images that anyone could see walking down a public street. However we’ve always said that Street View will respect local laws wherever it is available and we recognize that other countries strike a different balance between the concept of “public spaces” and individuals’ right to privacy in those public spaces. In other parts of the world local laws and customs are more protective of individuals’ right to privacy in public spaces, and therefore they have a more limited concept of the right to take and publish photographs of people in public places. Street View isn’t available outside of the US yet, but when it is, we’ll be sure to respect local laws.
However, Reuters also notes:
Canada’s privacy commissioner has yet to hear from Google, a spokesman said.