In a letter earlier this month, members of the European Union’s data protection group urged Google to make changes to its Street View mapping/photo service and warned that Google might be breaking EU laws.
According to Bloomberg News, the letter from the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party asks Google to store unblurred Street View images for six months, instead of the one year that images are currently stored. The Associated Press adds that the letter also asks Google to notify residents in advance of taking Street View photos by posting information on its web site, as well as in local and/or national media.
Google already follows the first part of that request: this page on Google Maps includes a map and more information about where Street Views are working.
As for the length of time that Google stores unblurred images, a Google attorney shared this statement with Bloomberg:
“The need to retain the unblurred images is legitimate and justified — to ensure the quality and accuracy of our maps, to improve our ability to rectify mistakes in blurring, as well as to use the data we have collected to build better maps products for our users,” Peter Fleischer, a Google lawyer in charge of privacy issues, said in an e-mailed statement. “We have publicly committed to a retention period of 12 months from the date on which images are published on Street View, and this is the period which we will continue to meet globally.”
This is the latest in a long line of battles and complaints over the Street View program. You’ll find significant background material in our Google Street View archives.