Google’s Street View has passed the scrutiny of the UK privacy watchdog. The photo mapping of street scenes in the UK has been assessed and ruled to comply with British privacy laws:
“…the Information Commissioner said it was “satisfied” that Google had put in place safeguards to avoid risking anyone’s privacy or safety.”
Many in the security community thought that this decision was a foregone conclusion. Britain has the dubious distinction of being called the “Surveillance Society”. In early 2007, it was estimated that there were 4.2 million surveillance cameras in Britain. That is roughly “one for every fourteen people“. With the proliferation of surveillance equipment and the advancement of technology, that ratio may be even more daunting.
With the concept of privacy becoming archaic in Britain, the Information Commissioner certainly had no precedent to place any significant restraints on Google. The expression of a privacy concern and the subsequent review of Google’s methodology were impressive public relations and bureaucratic gestures.