StreetView not a privacy threat, U.K. group rules

Google's lawyers are good. Not only can they argue rings around newspapers using the fair use doctrine, but they have yet to lose a StreetView privacy battle. Their latest win? The U.K.'s privacy watchdog group rejected a complaint against StreetView, ruling that the service is no more privacy-invasive than Twitter or Facebook.

According to The Press Association, The U.K. Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) rejected a complaint by London-based Privacy International that had argued StreetView's high-res photos of houses and streets invaded user privacy. In the response, ICO's senior data practice manager, David Evans, compared being captured by StreetView to being filmed in the background of a television news segment or in the crowd of a televised sports match. He said:

"In the same way, there is no law against anyone taking pictures of people in the street as long as the person using the camera is not harassing people," he said. "In a world where many people Tweet, Facebook and blog, it is important to take a commonsense approach towards Street View and the relatively limited privacy intrusion it may cause."

So there you have it. Chalk up yet another one for Google's lawyers. They've made the U.K. free for StreetView, and now everyone can use the tool to not only more easily find where they need to go, but catch glimpses of background action, like this guy being sick outside a pub.

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