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ICO won't ban Google Street View

Service only offers small privacy risk

Following its rejection of a complaint by Privacy International, the Information Commissioner's Office has said that Google's Street View should not be banned in the UK.

Google Street View - an add-on to Google Maps and Google Earth that offers photographs of streets and cities - launched in the UK last month.

However, the service was criticised at launch after it was revealed it provided access to a number of inappropriate images, as well as photos of passers-by whose faces weren't blurred out, despite promises by Google.

In its response to Privacy International, the ICO said banning the service would be "disproportionate to the relatively small risk of privacy detriment".

David Evans, the Information Commission's senior data protection practice manager, told the BBC: "In the same way, there is no law against anyone taking pictures of people in the street as long as the person using the camera is not harassing people".

His comments were in reference to the Google Street View Car, which travels through UK towns and cities photographing streets for the service.

"In a world where many people Tweet, Facebook and blog, it is important to take a commonsense approach towards Street View and the relatively limited privacy intrusion it may cause," he added.


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