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Czech Republic: Google Street View Invades Privacy

Google’s Street View continues to face resistance, particularly in European countries where the service has more recently been rolling out.

Today brings news that privacy officials in the Czech Republic are refusing to allow Google to resume capturing images with its Street View vehicles. According to a story in The Guardian, the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection says that Street View “disproportionately invades citizens’ privacy” and might violate Czech law.

The country began investigating Street View in April — six months after Google launched the service there. Google agreed to suspend Street View photography and data collection until it finished negotiating with Czech officials. But according to The Guardian, Igor Nemec, chairman of the Czech privacy agency, isn’t satisfied with those negotiations.

[Nemec] also expressed concern about the technology used to capture the panoramic images, saying the cameras built atop Street View cars are too tall (2.7 metres), allowing photographs to be captured “over the fence”.

Earlier in the week Nemec said Google had failed to comply with obligations incumbent on companies collecting data in the country. “A data [collector] seated outside the European Union is obliged to appoint a representative on the territory of the Czech Republic. Google Inc, an American entity, has failed to do this.”

Google tells The Guardian that it has met “most conditions set out by the government,” and that Street View only publishes blurred images of faces that are photographed. Czech residents can also ask to have any image removed from Street View.

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