Google’s StreetView program has been shadowed by privacy concerns arising from the capture of license plate numbers, people’s faces, and other potentially embarrassing images. To address these issues, Google set up a system where users could request images be removed. However arguably the embarrassment or damage has already been done by that point. Now, as Google expands StreetView globally, IDG News reports the company faces more stringent privacy regulations in Canada and Europe that will require the company to preemptively blur or otherwise remove personally identifiable images before they’re published.
Privacy counsel Jane Horvath is quoted in the IDG article saying that Google is actively considering doing the same in the US, although it is not legally required to do so: “As we launch those products we will be thinking within our product teams whether this is something that we’d like to do within the U.S. also.”
I would expect that Google will do so within the US, since it has to do this in other markets globally. It makes sense and would eliminate persistent concerns about what is otherwise a valuable product.