Feeds

Google trials Street View face-blurring tech

International anonymity for New Yorkers

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Google has begun to roll out Street View images with the faces of innocent bystanders to its drive-by captures suitably blurred - a response to increasing privacy concerns over the service's indiscriminate broadcasting of the unwashed masses.

A post on the Google Earth and Maps blog earlier this week explained the search monolith was testing its "new face-blurring technology on the busy streets of Manhattan", as seen here:

Street View image of Manhattan with blurred faces

The post adds: "This effort has been a year in the making - working at Street View-scale is a tough challenge that required us to advance state-of-the-art automatic face detection, and we continue working hard to improve it as we roll it out for our existing and future imagery."

This timely move comes as the Street View camera vehicle is reported to be prowling the streets of several European cities. The EU has "stricter privacy safeguards" than the US, and Google has "already admitted that it will have to change the way Street View operates in order to comply".

Google global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer said in April: "We've always said Street View will respect local laws wherever it is available and we recognise that other countries strike a different balance between the concept of 'public spaces' and individuals' right to privacy in those public spaces.

"There's an important public policy debate in every country around what privacy means in public spaces. That balance will vary from country to country, and Street View will respect it."

Despite the US's relatively relaxed attitude to privacy, Google has fallen foul of a couple of indignant local property owners: Mr and Mrs Boring of Pittsburgh who accused the company of "photographing their swimming pool and posting it to the web"; and, rather more seriously, the Pentagon which was a little hacked off over revealing snaps of Fort Sam Houston.

In the latter case, Google responded by removing the offending pics from Street View. Its policy on individuals caught on camera has, since last August, involved a similar "delete-on-request" service. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.