Computerworld reports that the working party found Google’s current 12-month retention time for the images to be a “disproportionate” length of time.
The party reported being “concerned that Street View continues to give rise to data-protection issues,” despite Google’s compliance with the initially laid-out requirements. It also ordered Google to give UK citizens more information and lead time surrounding when its Street View cars would be in particular areas to take photographs.
EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said of the decision, “Google needs to raise much more awareness of Street View cars going though people’s streets as there is an option to opt out of appearing in them but no one knows about it.”
As Nokia’s Henry Tirri recently told us, the EU is known for being more outspoken about privacy issues than other regions, particularly where Street View is concerned.
For its part, Google is defending its stance on keeping the images for the year-long period. A lawyer for the company, Peter Fleischer, responded, “The need to retain the unblurred images is legitimate and justified — to ensure the quality and accuracy of our maps, to improve our ability to rectify mistakes in blurring, as well as to use the data we have collected to build better maps products for our users. We have publicly committed to a retention period of 12 months from the date on which images are published on Street View, and this is the period which we will continue to meet globally.”
In other words, we’re not quite sure yet how this one will turn out. We’ll keep an eye on this space, which we’re tempted to refer to as “Google Street Fight.” Do you think the EU is making a reasonable request in the service of data protection and privacy, or should Google continue to hold its ground?