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Google's Street View Meets Resistance In France

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the not-surrendering dept.

Google 201

Ian Lamont writes "Google has begun to scan the streets of Paris as part of its Street View service, but the company may be hindered from publishing them unedited. The reason? French privacy laws. Google may be forced to blur faces or use low-resolution versions of the photographs. The Embassy of France in the US has a page devoted to French privacy laws, that says the laws are needed to 'avoid infringing the individual's right to privacy and right to his or her picture (photograph or drawing), both of them rights of personality.'"

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When in Rome... (5, Insightful)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358660)

Or in this case, Paris. The law is the law, and Google need to respect the local laws. They do it in China, with their censored Google, so I can't imagine them putting up too much of a fight against French privacy laws.

Re:When in Rome... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358686)

...can't imagine them putting up too much of a fight...
so you think THEY will surrender to FRANCE?!

brain... hurt...

Re:When in Rome... (4, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359038)

Get with the program. Ever since they elected Bush's lickspittle Sarkozy as their new president, the old rules no longer apply to the French. France is now one of the most badass military superpowers in the galaxy, and Google had better watch out.

Re:When in Rome... (4, Funny)

0xC2 (896799) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359508)

Forget France and Sarkozy, Google streetview needs to worry about running into the Overreaction Guy [flickr.com] in San Francisco.

Re:When in Rome... (0, Troll)

concernedadmin (1054160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358708)

Or in this case, Paris. The law is the law, and Google need to respect the local laws.
(emphasis mine) Why exactly? Google is a U.S. based corporation, right? So if anything, shouldn't the people that should have to worry about laws be Parisians, not Google?

Re:When in Rome... (4, Insightful)

kc8apf (89233) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358728)

If they are hiring people to drive vehicles outfitted with cameras around Paris, I would assume they have a business presence there. I'd expect them to follow French laws when doing business in France.

Re:When in Rome... (3, Funny)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359078)

I'd expect them to follow French laws when doing business in France.
Why? The French certainly don't bother.

Re:When in Rome... (4, Insightful)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358752)

If you're in another country, you obey that country's laws. Doesn't matter if you're a U.S.-based company taking 30 zillion pictures to post on the internet or you're a tourist on your honeymoon.

Re:When in Rome... (4, Insightful)

Slorv (841945) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358786)

(Obligatory: You must as american right?)

Perfect! - So when I as a swede set up the new Piratebay in new York I only has to worry about swedish laws? - Grrrrrrreat!

Come on, you follow the laws in the country you're in - it's that easy.

Re:When in Rome... (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358792)

torrentspy is a non-u.s corporation, right? but they still got fined by an american judge.

Re:When in Rome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358948)

No they are based in America.

Re:When in Rome... (4, Funny)

exley (221867) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358812)

Why exactly? Google is a U.S. based corporation, right? So if anything, shouldn't the people that should have to worry about laws be Parisians, not Google?
Well, the rhetorical fellating of Google has reached a new height around here.

Ask Yahoo if they need to obey local laws (4, Informative)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358824)

They lost in the French Nazi auction case [cnn.com] , which established the precedent that even big American Internet companies have to abide by national laws. The excuse that the Internet is some sort of separate place, or that national laws have no clout in the Internet Age died right then and there, in 2000.

Re:When in Rome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359410)

That's ignoring the huge chauvinism US companies suffer from. I wouldn't surprised if some Google head decided it didn't have to follow the democratic laws of a middle-size country, while it couldn't ignore a huge country like China.

Google will still lose in the end of course but I fully expect a show of american arrogance before that point.

Obligatory Frog Jab (0, Troll)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358668)

What, La Resistance? Quelle surprise!

Re:Obligatory Frog Jab (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358690)

If a Parisian is concerned their face may be seen, they should just baguette.

Easily contourné (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358674)

What exactly is illegal,
1. taking a picture in France
or
2. publishing it in France?

To avoid (1), take the picture from space.
To avoid (2), put the servers in the U.S.

Re:Easily contourné (5, Interesting)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358712)

What exactly is illegal..

Yeah, it's a cool thing to be able to browse the streets of a city in 3D, but honestly, who wants their faces, car plates, etc. published for all to see? Not everybody. And until it's everybody then we should assume nobody except with express consent.

It's a matter of common decency, not just law. I hate it when people talk as though the law is the only thing we should pay any attention to.

Re:Easily contourné (3, Insightful)

concernedadmin (1054160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358772)

Yeah, it's a cool thing to be able to browse the streets of a city in 3D, but honestly, who wants their faces, car plates, etc. published for all to see?
How about getting a permit to get authorities to temporarily (say 10 minutes at most) block off certain streets to take pictures of the streets at every location desirable. I can't imagine it would take much longer. Benefits? People who inevitably meander into the pictures most likely want to be in the picture and don't really have much of a right to complain. They were warned (by signs, guards, etc.) and they got in (conversely, egomaniacs might not see it as a bad thing to have their faces on Google Maps). Disadvantages? Possibly slowing business down a bit, but it would be a one time thing and I imagine the benefit to small, relatively undiscovered businesses would be enormous. A small B&B with references on Google Maps would boost sales as I know a lot of people that consult TripAdvisor reviews (supplements that appear to the Google Maps images) to decide where to go during vacation trips or even routine business trips.

Re:Easily contourné (3, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358784)

They were warned (by signs, guards, etc.) and they got in (conversely, egomaniacs might not see it as a bad thing to have their faces on Google Maps).
Maybe the guards should be nightclub bouncers and then we can be fairly sure that only eye-candy-people get to be in the photos. Good for tourism.

Re:Easily contourné (2, Interesting)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359502)

I don't think I'm an egomaniac, but I was thrilled when I saw myself on street view. The excavator I was having unloaded even stopped them from imaging most of the street! I don't know why, but it's exciting.

I didn't notice the car go by at the time.

Re:Easily contourné (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359718)

This is France, if that were the case, only tourists would be in the picture anyway.

Re:Easily contourné (1)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358806)

A small B&B with references on Google Maps would boost sales as I know a lot of people that consult TripAdvisor reviews (supplements that appear to the Google Maps images) to decide where to go during vacation trips or even routine business trips.
you do realise that Paris is the most visited city in the world, and as such among the cities with most pictures online already?

Re:Easily contourné (1)

concernedadmin (1054160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358842)

you do realise that Paris is the most visited city in the world, and as such among the cities with most pictures online already?
Are the pictures organized and efficiently linked to metadata about the locations as well as competitors or friendly franchises in the area? Are all the pictures guaranteed to continue to update? Google Maps brings everything together and thus can only serve to benefit tourists which ultimately helps Paris.

Re:Easily contourné (2, Informative)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358854)

Temporarily blocking streets sounds like a plausible solution, but it is at best a difficult one; one blocked street (in a mess of narrow one-way streets) can wreak havoc for circulation, and (street-blocking) deliveries often continue until 9:00 am - when the heavy 'to-work' traffic starts.

The best solution is to run the project, using as many cameras/cars possible, during the month of August - this town is dead then. Save of course for the 'touristy' areas - whose numbers (especially during that month) count a majority of foriegners.

Re:Easily contourné (1)

QunaLop (861366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359054)

I think this is a great idea, as long as every person/business/organization that owns inclusive property is negotiated with and is compensated.

In short, it is not going to happen, and I am glad I live in a country where corporations can't dictate my ability to feel comfortable in my own home (or anywhere really)

Re:Easily contourné (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359282)

Dude, they are getting free publicity? How much more compensation do you want? Granted, someone has to look them up and they are aggregated with other businesses, but at some point, one has to look at the bigger picture.

Re:Easily contourné (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359212)

"How about getting a permit to get authorities to temporarily (say 10 minutes at most) block off certain streets to take pictures of the streets at every location desirable. I can't imagine it would take much longer."
All they actually have to do is drive the street twice at different times and remove anything which doesn't appear in both photos.

 

Re:Easily contourné (2, Insightful)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358788)

exactly. we Frenchmen have seen the pictures of Americans taking a piss in these Google pictures. According to French law, a citizen owns the right to control how his/her image is used. Don't mind us if we have respect for ourselves.

Re:Easily contourné (1, Flamebait)

yotto (590067) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358908)

Exactly correct.

The solution shouldn't be making pissing in the street illegal. It should be taking a picture of it that's illegal.

IOW, if you're pissing in the street, you shouldn't be mad when someone takes a picture of it.

Re:Easily contourné (3, Insightful)

severoon (536737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358886)

I don't understand this French law thing. Let me see if I can get it straight...

If I'm walking down a public street in Paris, I assume I'm allowed to look at other people, and be looked at by other people. If I have a camera with me I assume I'm allowed to take pictures, as I do not, and no one else, has any expectation of privacy. You're on a public street.

Now if I publish those photos, given that any person viewing the images could have just as well been there at the scene at the time I took the images and seen it for themselves without violating anyone's privacy, I assume that there's no violation of privacy there either.

Thus we find ourselves in Google's situation. So what is the privacy problem here?

If they were to pick a person at random and use that person in advertising in a way that made it seem the person was endorsing something, then that shouldn't really be allowed unless the person actually does endorse the product and agreed to be represented as such. But that's not happening here.

If the person had some reasonable expectation of privacy, such as walking around a gym locker room in the buff, or in a public restroom, or in their own home or on private property not viewable from a public area, that would be different. Doesn't seem like that's happening here either.

Where is the big ethical problem here? I just don't see it.

Re:Easily contourné (4, Informative)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358928)

Where is the big ethical problem here? I just don't see it.

You don't actually have permission to take photos of any faces in public. It's the same law in other countries. People have to consent to having their picture taken. Of course there is spillage and people unwittingly enter millions of tourist happy-snaps.

But if I take photos with identifiable faces and publish them on my blog or website or whatever, the people who own the faces can claim offense if I didn't ask them first.

Where is the big ethical problem here? I just don't see it.

The big ethical problem is that if there aren't these controls on how your photo/voice/identity is used, then people get exploited.

In many countries, you are not even permitted to photograph the front lawn of someone's private residence, even though it is the 'public face' of his home. Not everybody wants their stuff photographed, thank you very much.

Re:Easily contourné (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358972)

Uh...wrong.

In Canada (Provinces: Alberta; Quebec), you can take public pictures with people as the subject and then use them commercially without permission, consent or model releases. [Little insane, yes?]

In most places you can take photos of faces in public, and publish, as long as it's not commercial.

Hell, in Canada you can take photos while trespassing and still retail publication rights as long as the classic "reasonable expectation of privacy" is not violated. Sure, publishing photos taken while trespassing will ensure you're convicted on the trespassing charge, but you can still publish legally.

There's virtually nowhere that bans the taking of public people photos. A few have restrictions on their publication, but the taking of the photo is generally fine.

Re:Easily contourné (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359012)

Uh...wrong.
.. for Canada maybe. I said many countries, not all!

Re:Easily contourné (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359110)

You said it's the same in other countries, without a qualifier (e.g. "some"). That implies all. You're wrong.

Re:Easily contourné (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359488)

You're wrong.
Yeah, I might be wrong, but I'll die before I admit it.

Re:Easily contourné (3, Informative)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359184)

You're also wrong in the UK, the US, Australia and most other countries I can think of, unless by 'claim offence' you mean they can claim they were offended rather than seek legal remedy. What sources exactly have you based your opinion on?

Here's a few of links explaining the situation in the UK, Australia and US for photography of people in public places :

UK [sirimo.co.uk]
US [krages.com]
Australia [4020.net]

Re:Easily contourné (2, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359294)

Did you read the UK one?
There is also a fair possibility that photographs of people may be subject to the Data Protection Act, which controls the âoeprocessingâ of âoepersonal dataâ, that is, data relating to an individual from which the individual can be identiïed. The deïnitions of these terms are complex, but taking a photograph of a recognisable person would appear to ït within them. The Act contains an exception for processing undertaken with a view to publication of any journalistic or artistic material, and much photography will probably be protected by this exception, but obtaining a model release puts the issue beyond doubt.
So Google would likely do the same in the UK as they're doing in Paris.

Using a telephoto lens to take a photo of
someone in a private place, such as their home, without their consent, is probably an invasion of privacy even though the photo is taken from a public place.

I think taking a photo from the street through a window and putting it on the Internet is an invasion of privacy too, I think it would be easy to argue this in court and win if it came to it.

Re:Easily contourné (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359338)

Did you even read what you copied and pasted:

"The Act contains an exception for processing undertaken with a view to publication of any journalistic or artistic material, and much photography will probably be protected by this exception"

Die in a fire, imbecile.

Re:Easily contourné (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359500)

Let me know when Google Maps is either journalism or art.

Re:Easily contourné (2, Insightful)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359532)

yes I did read it - I see you neglected to quote the most relevant part :

Taking photographs of a person in a public place would not normally be regarded as an invasion of privacy.
So photographs in the street are not illegal. What would be illegal would be entering private property or taking photos of people in a situation where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy (in their back garden, inside their house, etc). Google doesn't use telephoto lenses - I suppose it's conceivable they could be asked to remove a picture of the interior of someone's property from the street (if such a thing ended up on Google Maps), but not of the street itself with people in it.

Re:Easily contourné (1)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358942)

It is a matter of personnal rights. You, as a person, have the right to control your image. You scatter your DNA all over in public places, in hair, skin, etc. Would you like someone else to take it, and use it for a profit? Would you not feel personnally violated?

Re:Easily contourné (1)

DerWulf (782458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359568)

I don't pretent to have all the answers but it has to be said that physically your picture is a bunch of photons re-emitted towards the camera. As such, I don't see how you can have a right to this. It's your responsibility to not send your photons where you don't want them to be (that's also why we all wear clothes and exhibitionism is (sometimes) a crime and not "seeing nacked people").

Re:Easily contourné (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358742)

So if you break US IP law in a country like say, Australia, you can be extradited and shipped for trial/prosecution in the US. But you have no problem with breaking French law by placing the servers inside the US?

IE - USA! USA! USA! We'll do whatever we want, only when it suits us.

Those days are over, mon ami.

Re:Easily contourné (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359020)

Really? France's resistance to our entering Iraq didn't amount to anything, did it?

And if France decides they won't extradite, guess what, that's what extraordinary rendition is for.

France can whine all they want, no one cares. It's not like they have any power over the USA.

Re:Easily contourné (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359272)

I think in this case the most important thing is: where does the offence happen?

The server location is not important.

Re:Easily contourné (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359686)

If the offense is publishing the image[1], rather than taking the photograph[2], then where it's published is what matters.

Now if the aforementioned act of publication occurs by means of being placed on a web server[3], any hack lawyer could make a pretty good argument that the server's location is precisely what matters.

[1] which it is
[2] which it isn't
[3] which it is

Re:Easily contourné (2, Funny)

GravityStar (1209738) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359546)

Dear Google, If you ever set foot in France, you will be arrested. Regards, the French Republic

Re:Easily contourné (1)

ArAgost (853804) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359642)

To avoid (1), take the picture from space.
That'll be sooooo easy, considering it's street view that the story it's about.

The whole Street View idea... (3, Informative)

amccaf1 (813772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358692)

I've looked around for information before, but have never found any. Does anyone know how often people actually use the Street View for the purpose for which it was designed (i.e. non-voyeuristic purposes)?

Personally, I just don't see the overwhelming need for it. I've never really needed to see what a road or a street looks like before driving on it. The only case that springs to mind is for odd places way out in remote areas, where there the lay-out may be different... but that's exactly the sort of place that would never get put into the StreetView system anyway.

So, does anyone find StreetView genuinely useful enough to be worth all the privacy hassle?

Re:The whole Street View idea... (1)

concernedadmin (1054160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358740)

I know that my mother, who thinks more in terms of landmarks than in terms of streets, finds it very useful. In contrast, my father who prefers abstract street diagrams, doesn't use it much.

Re:The whole Street View idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358746)

Phone books are much worse. I use them to lookup what, one number per year, yet these things expose PRIVATE INFORMATION ABOUT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE!

Re:The whole Street View idea... (2, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359308)

I don't know about the USA, but in the UK when you get a phone line you're asked if you want to be in the directory.

Re:The whole Street View idea... (1)

JoelMartinez (916445) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358838)

I use it all the time when I'm traveling to a new place (like new york). I can see where my hotel is going to be, and "walk" around to find places of interest nearby

Re:The whole Street View idea... (4, Interesting)

Necroman (61604) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358870)

It can be very useful for finding the final destination in a trip. A friend gave me a link to his new place using StreetView, with the "camera" pointed directly at which house was his. With this, I knew what to look for when I got into the area (as it was near impossible to see the markings on the houses at night.

StreetView has its purpose, it's really a matter of how follow directions.

Also, I've been using it for house hunting in the city I live in. I'm able to see what kind of homes are in the different neighborhoods around town without driving all over the place. Once I find some neighborhoods that I like I drive there myself just to get a feel for the area in person.

Re:The whole Street View idea... (2, Insightful)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359304)

So, does anyone find StreetView genuinely useful enough to be worth all the privacy hassle?

I would/will find it useful if/when it covers German cities. I'm not a native of this country (or Europe, or even the Northern Hemisphere for that matter) and sometimes a map just isn't enough. The satellite view on Google Maps is handy, but still not quite good enough, since rooftops can look quite different to the view from below.

The problem comes when I have a hard time identifying something that I see with my own eyes as being a street or not. That's a lot more common than you'd think here! Especially near the centre of large cities.

If I had streetview to help, I would know it's "the first big red brick building on the left after the pretty looking church, just across the road from that department store where I bought my shoes", which is a lot more handy than a point on a map!

Re:The whole Street View idea... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359672)

Sometimes when I had to go someplace I wasn't familiar with, I'd drive through the day, week before, so I would be on time. Now I've used street view to get a look at the address, and just have an idea of what landmarks to look for. I suspect if everyone did something similar we would probably be able to see a small decline in accident rates as people would be more focused on driving rather than looking at building numbers. Not to mention gas prices being what they are and time being what it's always been, it's just convienent. I would think using street view for voyeurism is a little unnecessarily time intensive. But that's not something I'd be inclined to bother with anyway.

Not resistance, but law! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358756)

" Google's Street View Meets Resistance in France"

It is not resistance, it is the french law.

As a French citizen, I find the Slashdot title offensive.

Paris is the capital of a free sovereign country, France, which has its own Constitution and legal system, which is not the US ones!

The title implies that american law should prevail everywhere! No! France is not a US colony.

I am sure that most american (& french) citizens would expect French coorporations (e.g. Thales, Air Liquide, ...) to obey American laws on the American soil (e.g. Washington D.C.)

Why should it be different for Google (an american coorporation) in France?

Re:Not resistance, but law! (1)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358832)

exactly. it's not resistance, it's not reticence. you just can't do that in France, and that's it. French law is not going to change just to please a foreign company.

Re:Not resistance, but law! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359136)

As a French citizen, I find the Slashdot title offensive.
I find your BO offensive.

No! France is not a US colony.
It's not a German one either. Care to remind us why?

I usually do not respond to AC's, but.... (0, Offtopic)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359222)

I do not mean ANY offense to the people of France, but any time the subject of 'French Resistance' enters the discussion, I think of this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_French_Forces [wikipedia.org]

(yes, I know I am skating around Godwin's Law here, but just think about the big picture for a minute.)

*non sequitur and offtopic alert: I adored Cpl. Lebeow(sp?) in Hogan's Hero's*

P.S. Firefox spell check has some interesting alternatives for Lebeow!!!

It's just a stupid pun (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359530)

I think it's just another stupid headline pun based on the cliche of the French Resistance. Don't try to take it too literally.

taking offense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359610)

It is not resistance, it is the french law.

As a French citizen, I find the Slashdot title offensive.
Your point is well made and well taken. However, I think it's well within normal English usage to use "resistance" to describe this (even if it is an understatement!). Perhaps instead of "Meets Resistance" the title should have said "Hits Snag" or something like that.

In any event, you are conflating "resistance" with "mere nuisance", when the headline's author may simply have been noting that there could be some amicable and legal way for Google to proceed, despite the initial appearance of what may be (or not; that's the point!) a superficially insurmountable roadblock.

I'm not insinuating your English is shoddy--you should see my French!-- nor do I mean to derail any discussion of American politicians' and law enforcement's disdain and ignorance of other countries' sovereignty. I just think we choose, to some significant extent, what offends us and that you're overly sensitive to the headline. Be a bit more circumspect and lead by example, because a lot of Americans are sheltered (parochial) and boorish, and would benefit by seeing that the views of a French citizen are other than nationalist, or mere complaint, or stereotypical.

California has a similar law (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358774)

California has a similar law, Civil Code section 3344 [findlaw.com] . This covers "publicity rights". Each person's "publicity right" in recognizable images of themself is by law worth at least $750, if used in any manner related to advertising or selling. If you're famous, the price goes up, to cover "actual damages".

So if you're in California and recognizable in Google StreetView, you could put in a claim. It's not worth it unless you're a major celebrity.

Re:California has a similar law (2, Insightful)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358796)

it's good to know that like everything else in the US, your own image has a price. A pretty low price. That you're only given if you're willing to fight.

Re:California has a similar law (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359166)

How about properties like homes?

Re:California has a similar law (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359290)

How about properties like homes?
In case you hadn't noticed, homes aren't people and as such don't have rights. Imagine if they did! The right to have the roof kept in good repair, the right to be aired out on a regular basis, the right to remain silent (except in high winds).

Googleplexed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358798)

Google should do this inside their headquarters, corporate offices, data centers, and employee homes.

Re:Googleplexed (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359726)

Well said! After all, those are all like totally the same as public streets.

The online French Yellow Pages has street photos (4, Interesting)

sureshc (185660) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358836)

The online French Yellow Pages (http://www.pagesjaunes.fr) has a primitive streetview feature. Most of the pictures appear to be taken early in the morning when there are very few pedestrians, but it's still fairly common to see people in the background.

Re:The online French Yellow Pages has street photo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359428)

Actually it exists for more than five years:

http://photos.pagesjaunes.fr/

Juste click on the map.

Example: http://photos.pagesjaunes.fr/h/xy?ville=03392004;templ=pjphoto_frame;templ_photo=pjphoto_photo;planville=1;fwdto=/mcxsl/;map_sign=3viy9rC8t/dQmjgsesRu4m7GpVQ2Vj6WFb8Q/gLutfiHMoUJo1f2auq6shBd+YnKQPNXHE0cOePdGrMqUGKc58moHTq8eMDcOAVrm/194ahRy3Tw7iUjCSD6gAQmUIPyg4kUKWc0nJRFP0ttcm6F69Wq5CtfPZXr58xr6p0nlh/EV7tftH8Ihw==;x=146.65;y=211.7

Photography in France (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358858)

If this were true then it would be illegal to take a photograph in a public place in France with any people in it. Just considering professional photographers alone, that makes thousands of offenders a year.

There are over 5000 infringing photographs of people in France on Corbis if you search for 'crowd france'.

http://www.corbis.com/ [corbis.com]

Re:Photography in France (1)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358880)

yes, because if it's available on the internets, then it must be legal.

Re:Photography in France (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358900)

I'm not sure about the precise law, but it seems pretty different to photograph crowds or to make streetview. With streetview, you can see where people are living, and maybe see them do some personal stuff (there was that guy pphotographed whilde He was supposed to be at work for ex).

In a crowd I'd say it's not as important since you are "in public".

Anyways, from all the things we saw about privacy, we learnt that you must be vocal from the start before something becomes widespread.
In that case I would protest against the current streetview, because I don't want to see the next logical step happen; that is, live feeds of every street.

I know there's a way to remove (moving) people when taking photos (multiple shoots, remove what moved). That would be better.

Re:Photography in France (4, Interesting)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359014)

You know, people's rights to their image do not only exist in France.
Don't you remember the Australian Virgin mobile fiasco ? They had taken pictures from Flickr under the Creative Common license for their advertising campaign. So far, so good. However, they did not have the consent of the people on the pictures.
Now, the family of the girl on the picture got a little wild and sued both Virgin and Creative Commons. The latter case has been dropped, but I believe the former is still ongoing.

Re:Photography in France (2, Interesting)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359128)

In most countries, it is legal to take and sell photos of people without their consent in a public place - otherwise it would be practically impossible to take pictures anywhere. What you're not allowed to do is to sell them for use in advertising, to endorse products or services etc. without the consent of the people involved (model release).

I'm not aware of the specific laws in France, it just seems to me that these picture agencies would have thoroughly investigated that before selling pictures of people taken in France. It seems particularly absurd to pic on google in this case, given all the other examples of public photography available. However the rules as quoted in the summary would outlaw tourists taking any pictures too - that seems unlikely in the extreme.

Since the google pics are not used to advertise a product or service (the people are in fact really incidental), they should be safe.

The case you're talking about took and used a photo for advertising, to endorse a product, and hence was illegal.

Bluring stuff doesn't sound that bad (1)

TheDeivix (1090291) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358896)

"Among the technical solutions it is considering are blurring faces in images, which would require an enormous amount of image processing"

It's not like they just drop the photographs and they're ready to be used by the application, they already go through some sort of process to get the cylindrical effect, so adding some sort of face and text recognition and then blurring to the mix doesn't sound like a bad idea, and i guess that would make everyone happy.

Re:Bluring stuff doesn't sound that bad (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358922)

I guess it depends on how they classify a face. Does a bit of an ear count as a face or only what a modern camera would count as a face by face recognition. If they're not silly then it should be pretty easy to blur faces.

french (1)

kh12040 (1278434) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358902)

why not add a part of a french in slashdot ?

"Providing those details would be inappropriate" (5, Informative)

tmk (712144) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358918)

Google Street Maps was not welcome in Australia, too. But the newspaper "The Australian" had an interesting idea: the asked Google for the addresses of the Google managers [news.com.au] .

While Google has defended the project, the internet company baulked when The Weekend Australian requested the personal details and addresses of the group's key figures to allow the paper's photographers to take pictures of their homes. "Providing those details would be completely inappropriate," said Google spokesman Rob Shilkin.

Re:"Providing those details would be inappropriate (1)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359046)

Google Street Maps was not welcome in Australia, too. But the newspaper "The Australian" had an interesting idea: the asked Google for the addresses of the Google managers.
It wasn't an interesting idea, it was the typical non-story media beatup our Australian news papers love to do. It's not even bloody comparable, it's not like I can type in "Jeff Blackmore" and it shows me his house and address or something like that. I guess Australians [me being one of them] don't realise that *gasps* people who drive into their street can also see their house! OH THE HORROR!!

Re:"Providing those details would be inappropriate (2, Insightful)

Xuranova (160813) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359052)

How is that an interesting idea or even relevant? Taking pictures of a home or something is one thing, identifying who it belongs to is another. Google isn't giving you the ability to click on a home and get the details of whose inside. Nice job trying to instigate though. You get a C for effort.

Re:"Providing those details would be inappropriate (2, Interesting)

tmk (712144) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359132)

I don't think the article I mentioned is the best or most relevant report on that topic, but it is interesting to test the threshold of privacy. In fact it is very easy to connect information about a person with the picture from Google street map. E.g. in Germany you need to provide proper contact information on professional web site, including postal addresses. Install the right Firefox Plugin and you could see the picture of the house in Google maps.

Re:"Providing those details would be inappropriate (1)

catprog (849688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359466)

Or you can go to the address yourself and get even higher resolution pictures, sound and even smell.

Re:"Providing those details would be inappropriate (2, Insightful)

tmk (712144) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359574)

What does this mean? Privacy is an illusion? Should we dismiss this old fashioned concept?

Just a question of time.... (1)

BlueTak (1218450) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358938)

take photographs at 2.am !

Re:Just a question of time.... (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359318)

Clearly you've not been to Paris at 2am... PLENTY of people still about in some areas.

Re:Just a question of time.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23359478)

Mostly tourists and arab pickpockets.

Rights of Personality (3, Insightful)

straponego (521991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358956)

I like that concept, "Rights of Personality." It cuts to the essence of a disturbing trend in places like the US and the UK. More and more, every minute of one's life is scrutinized by the state, business, marketers, and random individuals. But the next step is the research is being done on various mind-reading technologies. Right now, these manifest themselves as "lie detectors" and DHS-type projects to look for terrorists, smugglers, and other nogoodniks. Also, marketing types want to be able to detect your internal reactions to ads, to fine tune their attacks on yor will. Soon they'll be able to track your eyes to see who you find attractive, then include similar models in ads targeted at you (this could be a fantastic optimization for porn, I admit).

The trend, and the goal, is to be able to read more people, at greater distance. We don't know how far this technology can go, but some of the things already being tested are capable enough to give one pause. If you are not allowed to think unauthorized thoughts (to question the state; to remember a song without paying royalties), do you have a personality? Do you have free will? It seems to me that at that point, consciousness would be a curse.

Gene Wolfe wrote, I believe in Soldier of the Mist, that "A man without a sword is a slave." I would contend that today it's more relevant to say that a man without privacy is a prisoner; a man without private thoughts is a slave.

It's nice to know that some places still maintain the concept of a right to privacy.

Re:Rights of Personality (1)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358984)

sadly, these rights are eroding fast in France, because the current authorities are fascinated by US and UK-type mass control.

Re:Rights of Personality (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359004)

Using this same attitude of creating positive rights, this is also the same people who gave us droit d'auteur/moral rights and the Berne Convention.

There are better ways of getting at privacy.

A wise man once said (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 6 years ago | (#23358962)

"Sometimes just because something can be done does not mean it should be done."

That's what I think about the Google Street Maps. Personally, at least for me it would be a perfect tool (as I was born in NYC but haven't been back home in 9 years), so being able to plan a trip would be awesome. That being said, however a lot of people (perhaps rightly or wrongly) have deep fear and differing views of privacy, so we have to accomodate the "lowest common denominator" of the population; which for Google would be low-quality images and / or blurring of faces. It is too bad really, because its a faboulous tool, but there are ethical / moral questions that should be asked / evaluated first.

If google was french... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23358964)

pagesjaunes (the french yellow pages site) already does streetview (and has done for about 4 or 5 years now).

Maybe it's because google isn't french...

Re:If google was french... (1)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359040)

Have you seen the resolution of these pictures ? Good luck recognizing someone...

Don't trust that (4, Interesting)

DisSys (1287020) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359218)

Well, I do live in Paris, and I can tell you this law is not really enforced unless you explicitly ask for it. Several times, photographers (*professional* ones I mean) tried to take a photograph of my baby girl (a cute and smiling one, but I'm not neutral on that topic! ;-), without asking for authorization, of course. I had to ask them to stop that, which usually led to a verbal argument. Google has been caught red-handed. Good. Next time they will hide their cameras and nobody will notice, except for the few usual whistleblowers.

crazy attitudes (2, Insightful)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359246)

The French are crazy when it comes to photography; it's the only place where I have ever experienced hostility towards street photography. For a country for which tourism is so important, that just seems stupid. The notion that your image is public when you're in a public location (barring a few exceptions) seems to be fine, but the French seem to assume that they can stroll along with their mistresses and be safe from accidental embarrassment.

My conclusion? Avoid France for tourism, and publish the pictures I took anyway. So sue me.

You own your picture (1)

alberthier (998375) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359422)

The french law simply says that people own their picture.
This means that in France a company has to ask people the right to use their photograph before publishing it. Google could photograph all streets in France in HiRes, but they have to ask the people that are recognizable on the photo the right to publish their photo. If Google blurs their face, there is no problem.
If you are making a Film in France you also have to ask the people that apear in the Film the right to use their image.
It is done to avoid having your picture used for things you disagree.

The emphasis is on publish (1)

af48 (305097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359438)

The funny part is: You can *take* the picture but you are not allowed to *publish* or *use commercially*. And that's not only people, that's everything someone has "created". Art, buildings, you name it.
(the standard model release for french models is significantly more detailed than the ones for all other states)

Privacy is gone, accept it (1)

moshez (67187) | more than 6 years ago | (#23359578)

These laws are outdated as any law dealing with technology might become. We have cameras everywhere, and they will record things, and these things will be on the internet. Are you seriously going to hunt down every YouTube or Flickr picture that has your face in it? Or are you going to accept that just like people can *gasp* walk down the street and *SEE YOU*, well, the street (or people's vision) just got bigger. You can see everyone in the world, everyone can see you, and you know what? It's not such a big deal.
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