Feeds

Google responds to Czech ban

We never done it or nothing

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Google's Czech tentacle has responded to yesterday's move by data protection regulators to stop the company collecting any more images for its Street View service in the country.

The statement does not address data protection president Igor Němec's main complaint: that Google failed to register as a processor of personal information, as is also required in the UK. We've asked Google why it failed to register and will update this story if we get an answer.

The Office for Personal Data Protection also complained that Street View captured images beyond those accessible from the street.

Google sent us the following statement:

We're disappointed with this outcome as we have robust procedures in place to protect privacy, such as face and number plate blurring and a removals tool. We'll continue to engage in constructive dialogue with the DPA to answer any other questions they have. Street View has proved a popular and useful tool for consumers and businesses around the world and we look forward to finding a solution to bring additional imagery to people in Czech Republic.

When we designed the Street View cars we took care to ensure the camera height was designed so it could best take pictures of buildings, street signs and other useful stuff, while not impinging on people's privacy. A lower mast height could mean that the camera is closer to the head-height of pedestrians on the pavement, and that's something we'd rather avoid because SV is about buildings and streets not faces. So we make it just high enough to ensure we avoid obstacles which might make it a less useful tool to users - like being blocked by a van or lorry but not so high that it can see over people's fences.

We're always testing out new camera technology to ensure that we continue to protect privacy whilst ensuring the images we collect are as useful as possible for people using Street View. Of course we also appreciate that some people might not want their house to be on Street View at all, in which case they can simply click report a problem and we'll remove it.  Street View is very popular in Czech Republic. We have registered a 35 % increase in Google Maps usage immediately after we have launched Street View. Recent research states that most respondents consider Street View privacy control tools sufficient. (STEM/MARK, September 2010)

Němec also suggested at yesterday's press conference that Street View might be more acceptable in major tourist destinations, where residents are used to being peered at by visitors, but less acceptable in smaller villages which have a higher expectation of privacy. Prague gets four visitors a year for every local resident. We've put this to Google too.

Street View covers only part of the Czech Republic - most of Prague, major roads and parts of other towns including Český Krumlov, Ostrava, Brno. This service is still working, and has been since 2009, but Google will need to find agreement with regulators before extending it.

Data protection regulators in Germany have given Google until 7 December to set acceptable privacy standards for picture collection there. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.