Feeds

Info Commissioner contacted 74 times over Street View

Possibly all from that chap filmed peeing in the street

High performance access to file storage

The case referred to was about photographs of Harry Potter author JK Rowling's then-infant son.

"If the photographs had been taken… to show the scene in a street by a passer-by and later published as street scenes, that would be one thing, but they were not taken as street scenes but were taken deliberately, in secret and with a view to their subsequent publication," wrote Sir Anthony Clarke in that ruling. "They were taken for the purpose of publication for profit, no doubt in the knowledge that the parents would have objected to them."

"It is not clear to me from your complaint which provisions of the law you feel have been breached though you do imply that it is unlawful to obtain images of people and use them without consent. In data protection terms this is simply not true," wrote Evans from the ICO. "Consent is just one of the grounds for processing personal data and the regulatory focus must be on whether the processing is fair to individuals who might be identified and what safeguards are in place to deal with those relatively rare situations where it is not."

Technology lawyer Struan Robertson of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, has previously identified that Google may have breached the Data Protection Act while collecting images for Street View because people were not informed that photos were being taken. But he has said that this is not an important breach because Google would have to have broadcast the collection over loudspeakers from cars, which would not be practical.

The ICO agreed in the analysis it sent to Davies.

"It would clearly be impracticable to provide what the Act terms fair processing information to any individual who happened to be in a public place at the same time as the Google cameras," it said. "We would not expect any organisation collecting images in this way to go to such lengths unless the images were being collected for purposes which required the identification of individuals and which resulted in some decision being taken about them."

Evans's letter contained a stout defence of the broadly-welcomed pragmatic approach taken by the ICO in this regard. It outlined why a massive commercial service should not be halted because of some relatively minor privacy concerns of relatively few people.

"Our data protection strategy commits us to basing our interventions on what actually matters to those we are seeking to protect and how likely it is to occur," said Evans, responding to Davies's charge that neither Google nor the ICO consulted the community on the impact of Street View. "We do take the 'community expectations' into account but it is clear to us that the 'community' expect that good regulation is, to a large extent, pragmatic regulation. In our opinion, there is no clear evidence that the community find Streetview particularly harmful or insidious."

Read the ICO's letter to Davies here.

Copyright © 2009, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.