In a pre-emptive strike, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner has warned Google that if it expands its Street View feature of Google Maps to the country, it could be breaking a law regarding individual privacy. So far, Google has used the tool in maps of just nine US cities. It offers360-degree views at the street level, including people informally captured on camera who can easily be recognized. The Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, wrote to Google last month asking forclarification on its intent. The pictures of individuals are clear enough to be considered personal information, and under Canadian law businesses disclosing personal information about individualsneed their consent first. Immersive Media Corp., which produced the images, says it has street level pictures of Canadian cities. "The images … appear to have been collected largelywithout the consent and knowledge of the individuals who appear in the images," wrote Stoddart. "I am concerned that, if the Street View application were deployed in Canada, it mightnot comply with our federal privacy legislation. In particular, it does not appear to meet the basic requirements of (the law)." People could ask for their image to be removed from StreetView, but Stoddart said this would not meet Canada’s 2004 personal information protection act.
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