It’s just last Thursday that Google took its UK Street View live, and yesterday came an official complaint by Privacy International (PI) to the Information Commissioner (ICO) about the service, regarding the "clear embarrassment and damage" it has caused to some Britons. Privacy International cited more than 200 reports it had received from people who were able to identify themselves in the pictures, in spite of Google’s assurances that faces and license plates would be blurred.
"We’re asking for the system to be switched off while an investigation is completed," PI head Simon Davies told the BBC.
The ICO gave permission last year for Street View. Yesterday it said:
"It is Google’s responsibility to ensure all vehicle registration marks and faces are satisfactorily blurred.
"Individuals who feel that an image does identify them (and are unhappy with this) should contact Google direct to get the image removed.”
"Individuals who have raised concerns with Google about their image being included – and who do not think they have received a satisfactory response – can complain to the ICO."
In a statement, Google re-asserted its belief in Street View privacy:
"The fact that some people have used the tools in place to remove images shows that the tools work effectively."
"Of course, if anyone has concerns about the product or its images they can contact us and we look forward to hearing from them."
Google has already pulled a number of images after complaints.