Google Street View Could Conceal Faces In U.S.

    December 3, 2007

Google Street View is a bit controversial, and two months ago, Google’s global privacy counsel announced that his company was willing to conceal people’s faces and license plates in some countries.  Now there’s word that it could do this in America, as well.

Stress on “could”; Jane Horvath, Google’s senior privacy counsel, spoke to Robert McMillan about the issue mainly as it applies to Canada and the European Union.  In those regions, it seems certain that some sort of blurring or blocking technology will be required.

 Google Street View Could Conceal Faces In U.S.

Yet McMillan writes, “She added that Google is considering taking the same steps with the U.S. version of the Street View software.”

This would certainly be a twist; given the months of hubbub that have surrounded pictures of hobos and whatnot, now would be an odd time to give into privacy advocates’ demands.  Then again, Google may be anticipating an increasing outcry as it continues to release images for different cities.  Also, Street View was further integrated into Google Maps last week, making it easier for random users to find.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens here; the idea of blocking license plates seems harmless enough, but if Google censors faces, it would take some of the fun out of using Street View.