February 26, 2010, 9:33 PM — It's like déjà vu all over again for Google with privacy concerns related to its Street View Maps. The European Union, which earlier this week revealed that it is investigating antitrust accusations against Google, has asked Google to make some changes to the way it gathers and retains data for Street View Maps.
Street View has been met with significant backlash time and time again. Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Greece have all expressed concern with Street View. Google has responded to those concerns by agreeing to blur out people's faces, license plate numbers, and other personally identifiable details, as well as lowering the height of the Street View camera to ensure it doesn't become a digital "peeping Tom", capturing photos of people in intimate or compromising settings in their own homes.
The new challenge from the EU relates to warning communities before the Google Street View-mobile rolls into town, and the length of time Google retains the unblurred, original images in its own database. The EU has asked that Google do more than simply post its image-capturing schedule online, and that it purge the original images after six months.
Google has enough on its plate, and it keeps adding new plates like the Nexus One, and Google Buzz. Google Maps with Street View is cool as a novelty, but it hardly seems worth the negative attention it continues to bring Google.
I have mapped my house just to see what images Google captured. It is interesting to try and determine--based on the foliage of the trees, the cars in the driveways, and other clues--when the Google Street Maps-mobile cruised the neighborhood and captured the images.