Google Maps may be considered an international criminal, with The Street View feature that launched in May potentially violating a Canadian protection law that focuses on individual privacy. The option gives users the ability to see city streets and detailed pictures of people using a series of panoramic images. There has also been talk at the time of launch to monetize on this feature by allowing advertisers to put ads on billboards and various other details within a close-up shot.
Since the feature, which has been implemented for nine U.S. cities currently, shows identifiable shots of people, The Canadian Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart wrote Google to inform them of the legal violation should the firm expand their service to Canada according to a report in Reuters.
Immersive Media Corp, a Canadian firm that supplies the images for Google Maps street view claims to have images for major Canadian cities.
Stoddart’s letter was quoted in Reuters to say, “The images…appear to have been collected largely without the consent and knowledge of the individuals who appear in the images.” She continued, “I am concerned that, if the Street View application were deployed in Canada, it might not comply with out federal privacy legislation. In particular, it does not appear to meet the basic requirements of (the law).”
If Google decides to launch Street View for Canadian cities without thinking about the privacy laws, Stoddart’s spokesman Colin McKay says that she may start a formal investigation.
“(Speaking hypothetically, I don’t think we’d lean toward a cease and desist (order), we’d lean toward enforcing privacy rights,” McKay said in Reuters.