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Greece Halts Google's Street View

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the keep-the-lens-caps-on dept.

Privacy 192

Hugh Pickens writes "Greece's Data Protection Authority, which has broad powers of enforcement for Greece's strict privacy laws, has banned Google from gathering detailed, street-level images in Greece for a planned expansion of its Street View mapping service, until the company provides clarification on how it will store and process the original images and safeguard them from privacy abuses. The decision comes despite Google's assurances that it would blur faces and vehicle license plates when displaying the images online and that it would promptly respond to removal requests. In most cases, particularly in the US, Google has been able to proceed on grounds that the images it takes are no different from what someone walking down a public street can see and snap. And last month, Britain's privacy watchdog dismissed concerns that Street View was too invasive, saying it was satisfied with such safeguards as obscuring individuals' faces and car license plates. The World Privacy Forum, a US-based nonprofit research and advisory group, said the Greek decision could raise the standard for other countries and help challenge that argument. 'It only takes one country to express a dissenting opinion,' says Pam Dixon, the group's executive director. 'If Greece gets better privacy than the rest of the world then we can demand it for ourselves. That's why it's very important.'"

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lunacy (4, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935739)

I to love how people have no problem with police videotaping you/preventing you from videotaping with an excuse of terrorism just to cover their asses while everyone panics over a google streetview of a public area.

Re:lunacy (5, Funny)

xp (146294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935781)

Maybe the Greeks are worried Google's van is a trojan horse.
--
Are you slow? [pair.com]

Timeo Danaos... (3, Funny)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936617)

Maybe they fear Google, wherever or not Google brings presents.

Re:Timeo Danaos... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27937281)

Maybe they fear Google, wherever or not Google brings presents.

Maybe the Greeks have been taught to beware geeks bearing gifts

Re:lunacy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936873)

Maybe the Greeks are worried Google's van is a trojan horse.
--
Are you slow? [pair.com]

Lol the Greek government is comprised of pure 100% idiocy.

Re:lunacy (4, Informative)

niceone (992278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935785)

I to love how people have no problem with police videotaping you

To be fair to Greece's Data Protection Authority, they do have a problem with police videoing people and have stopped the government using street cameras to fight crime as well.

Re:lunacy (2)

xlotlu (1395639) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936075)

To be fair to Greece's Data Protection Authority, they do have a problem with police videoing people and have stopped the government using street cameras to fight crime as well.

Let's all move to Greece..

Re:lunacy (2, Informative)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936117)

Not so sure about the standard of living, but they do have plenty of sun, excellent food & wine and beautiful women.

Re:lunacy (5, Funny)

kyriosdelis (1100427) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936519)

...and beautiful women.

That's true, we have a lot of hot tourist girls.

Re:lunacy (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936967)

Don't be so modest.

Re:lunacy (3, Funny)

mstamat (519697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936539)

It would be more accurate to say: "plenty of sun, excellent food and enough wine so that every woman you meet looks beautiful".

Re:lunacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936549)

It is true the women are beautiful, but the razor hasn't been invented yet.

Re:lunacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936603)

not so sure about the beautiful women but they do have some beautiful gay men

Re:lunacy (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936089)

Why is filming people a problem? Anything in public view should be fair game to publish on the net. If people put themselves in embarrassing positions why is it wrong to expose them?

Re:lunacy (4, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936895)

The world doesn't run by your standards! In greece people do not want picture of them in public view published on the internet, so they have passed laws/etc to prevent it. If you don't like it move to...

Re:lunacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936171)

What!? I thought the world did whatever the US does! This is outrageous!

Re:lunacy (1)

rackserverdeals (1503561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935905)

I to love how people have no problem with police videotaping you/preventing you from videotaping with an excuse of terrorism just to cover their asses while everyone panics over a google streetview of a public area.

The police don't (usually) put it on the internet where everyone can see it.

I'm not saying they're right or wrong, but it is different.

Re:lunacy (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936051)

You're right, it is worse: in the case of the police, you have no knowledge or oversight of what data is being gathered or how it is used.

I object to the legal double standard. We should have one law for everyone, be they Google, a casual photographer, a policeman (sans warrant), or the government itself.

Yup, the secret video is worse (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936435)

A secret video may be taking a shot of your wife bending over in her short summer dress.

On the internet, you can see that shot and get it removed.

Didn't you know that CCTV in US Malls were monitored and they found many of those cameras had been tuned to follow the good looking women rather than watch the store.

Also, if you're a paedo, would it be better to hide a camera on your person to take photos from a distance of kids playing in the schoolyard, where you may still be found out, or to be esconsed in a closed monitoring booth with CCTV cameras outside a school, monitoring the public places?

And how many times have the police said "We cannot find the tape" when the tape would have caught them in an illegal act, but oddly seem to find it when it catches someone in the same manner?

If the output were public, you would KNOW what the police are watching. You would KNOW what they look at. And knowing we are watching them will keep them honest.

Re:Yup, the secret video is worse (1)

rackserverdeals (1503561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936577)

If the output were public, you would KNOW what the police are watching. You would KNOW what they look at. And knowing we are watching them will keep them honest.

You may know the intentions of the person videotaping it, but if anyone has access to it you won't be able to know everyone viewer's intention. You won't even know who the viewers are.

Well thats just it... (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935957)

too many don't have a problem with THEIR government doing it.

Of course I have a problem with it, but I was born and raised in the United States and frankly trust Google (or other corporation) more than I trust the Government. Considering my government's willingness to spend me and my children into debt for the foreseeable future I doubt that my view will change.

Throw in the fact that far too many people think they have much more privacy than they truly do... totally forgetting how much information not using cash for transactions provides other people

Re:lunacy (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936073)

Eh? Nice straw man. I suspect that people concerned over street view most certainly are worried about the police too.

It might be fair to criticise the Greece Government if they allow their police to photograph everyone - however I don't know what things are like over there.

preventing you from videotaping

Well at least that's consistent. What's inconsistent is places like the UK where we have CCTV and police filming us ("no expectation of privacy in a public place"), but where people get arrested or deterred for filming police officers or even buildings (I guess buildings have more rights than people in a public place?)

google streetview of a public area

Yes, just as the police filming would be in public too; there's no need to emphasise that point just for Google.

Re:lunacy (3, Interesting)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936161)

The real reason for ban is quite different, the new street view used in Europe has hell of a resolution, meaning Greece tourism can be in danger, you can go around all the famous places from the comfort of your PC.

I roamed around Napoli (Italy) the other day, and even get texture grade quality facades from zoomed details for our project. SV is really an amazing tool.

Re:lunacy (2, Insightful)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936925)

The real reason for ban is quite different, the new street view used in Europe has hell of a resolution, meaning Greece tourism can be in danger, you can go around all the famous places from the comfort of your PC.

You're kidding, right?

If you think a bunch of pictures is a good substitute for actually visiting a place, then you haven't really traveled. You must also think that a movie or Cliff notes are good substitutes for a book.

I do agree SV is an amazing tool, and I think it would increase tourism, not derease it, much in the same way books/brochures in a travel office do.

Re:lunacy (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27937367)

Seriously, that's why all the great Spring Break spots hate the Travel Channel. Oh wait....

Re:lunacy (4, Interesting)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936875)

You are referring to US practices when the article is about Greece, where for example the "Personal Data Protection Authority" has power over courts & the Police. So far they have disallowed cameras from being used at streets [xblog.gr] , deny requests even by embassies [www.tvxs.gr] for outside cams, do not allow cameras in schools [kazam.gr] (they say have private guards if you want to thinkofthechildren). Sorry but all links are in Greek.

Personally, I'd rather there were cameras in public places, since that might allow the very ineffective Greek police to catch a bad guy or two once in a while. I mean, they ARE public areas, if you want privacy stay in your hut.

And to make it clear, in Greece as in most other countries outside the US, "terrorism" is no excuse for anything, certainly not for the police. The "you are subject to search" big-brotheresque messages I hear every day in the NYC subway are not common in other countries, which is why I hate it that such things are taken for granted here. Yeah, for our protection. Right.

Re:lunacy (4, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27937293)

I to love how people have no problem with police videotaping you/preventing you from videotaping with an excuse of terrorism just to cover their asses while everyone panics over a google streetview of a public area.

Pretty much everyone has a problem with both. The article mentions Google's usual argument that they're not showing anything that can't be seen by taking a walk down the street. Similarly, there's nothing that can be seen by 10 hovering cameras surrounded every person's head recording every visual and audio detail of his public time for permanent display on the internet that can't be seen by walking down the street while watching and listening.

I don't think their argument works.

'Street level' a bit misleading (2, Interesting)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935747)

Don't the cars have big masts on them for the camera? They see into places you can't see walking down the street.

Re:'Street level' a bit misleading (5, Informative)

masterfpt (1435165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935965)

If you think this [googlified.com] is a "big mast"...

Any average tall adult could take pictures that high...

Re:'Street level' a bit misleading (1)

KritonK (949258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936109)

It is just the right height to peek through the windows of ground floor apartments, of which there are quite a few in Greek cities. So, yes, it is a big mast!

Re:'Street level' a bit misleading (3, Insightful)

masterfpt (1435165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936341)

Is it that different from you walking down the street and take pictures yourself? Is it against the law? If I don't want people peeking inside my house, I use blinds ;)

Re:'Street level' a bit misleading (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936417)

Greeks are always telling us how great they are (I didn't see the appeal, but My Big Fat Greek Wedding about killed my predominantly-Greek Lady) yet they can't figure out how to prevent someone from looking through their windows. In the USA, ground floor apartments have big windows that anyone between midget and giant height can see everything in your house through, yet we have a number of window covering products available to help us preserve our privacy and yet still permit us to use our windows when we feel like looking like we're living in a fishbowl.

Maybe someone should ask the Japanese how they feel about google street view, I'm honestly interested but I can't see it being a big problem there. Anyone acting like a freak on the street probably wants to be immortalized... but I do wonder which way the cultural reaction goes. Is it no big deal because everyone lives on top of each other and assumes that there's eyes everywhere, or is it a huge deal because everyone is expected to pretend they don't see things?

Re:'Street level' a bit misleading (1)

KritonK (949258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936671)

yet we have a number of window covering products available to help us preserve our privacy

We have these things over here, too. We also have temperatures that often reach or surpass 40 degrees centigrade, in the shade, during our long summers. People who live in ground floor appartments, which are cheaper, quite often cannot afford air conditioning, so the best thing they can do to avoid being cooked alive in their own homes is to open every single window wide open, to create a draft. Keeping the curtains, blinds, etc., drawn is out of the question. While it is expected that, this way, a passer-by might catch a glimpse of the interior of your appartment, climbing on a stool to peek through every single window in every single street is asking for trouble. If you also want to take pictures and post them over the internet, then you're really asking for it!

Re:'Street level' a bit misleading (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936773)

I understand some of the issues surrounding the architecture; the biggest fault is not using updraft towers to help circulate air. But what you're basically saying is that the future (actually, the present) should be held back because of faults in Greek architecture. Do you try to pass laws to prevent the road from being widened to prevent people from moving into your neighborhood? The difference between this situation and trying to pass a law to prevent people from moving into your neighborhood because you moved to the country and like it that way is that a whole culture is having this curmudgeonly attitude together.

Re:'Street level' a bit misleading (1)

KritonK (949258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27937129)

I won't disagree that the way Greek cities, especially Athens, are built is a mess. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution for this problem. If one exists, it is unlikely that it will involve taking detailed street view images, however!

Re:'Street level' a bit misleading (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936631)

The masts vary in height, most of them are much higher than that. Have a look for yourself. [google.ie]

Actually the one you linked is the lowest I've seen so far. You picked out the lowest one you could find, didn't you? Naughty! [wikipedia.org]

Re:'Street level' a bit misleading (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935999)

Don't the cars have big masts on them for the camera? They see into places you can't see walking down the street.

I saw a pic of a UK car, has like a 2' mast on an estate. Not very tall. The USA van [csueastbay.edu] just has a lump on the top, a lifted truck or an RV or bus would let someone see just as much.

Re:'Street level' a bit misleading (1)

JerryQ (923802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936147)

We have double decker buses here in the UK, even taller than the camera height

Re:'Street level' a bit misleading (1)

mikezs (856820) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936395)

No higher than the point-of-view from a lorry's cab, surely.

So very stupid (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935771)

If you outlaw street-level imagery, only outlaws will have street-level imagery. Security through obscurity never works. Don't do things in public if you don't want people to see them. If you want to keep people off your driveway, install a gate. Close your fucking curtains! It's already safest to assume that everyone has a camera, because practically everyone does.

Re:So very stupid (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935851)

Close your fucking curtains! It's already safest to assume that everyone has a camera, because practically everyone does.

Also, there is the issue of what Greece will do if they find out Google is keeping detailed imagery against the ban. Sue them in the US?

And of course duch data is already collected by satellites that don't exist officially.

Re:So very stupid (1)

achurch (201270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935929)

Close your fucking curtains!

That's a really sad statement on the state of society. Whatever happened to quiet, friendly communities where you can throw your windows open to let in the fresh air and chat with passersby?

Oh well, I suppose that once the next few crops of children grow up with no privacy, nobody who'd miss it will be around anymore.

Re:So very stupid (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936033)

That's a really sad statement on the state of society. Whatever happened to quiet, friendly communities where you can throw your windows open to let in the fresh air and chat with passersby?

People started walking around naked in their living rooms! It used to be practically a sin to go to bed naked. Now people want extra privacy! I mean, I like doing this myself, but if my hairy ass ends up on the goog as a result, I have only myself to blame.

A lot of people have also decided that they want more than the baseline of privacy. For instance, it was once considered polite to invite people into your front room to talk; it was decorated and organized to receive strangers. These days there's ample reason NOT to let anyone into your house... The interior of the house has become a more private space. But then people don't want people to look into their private space, and that is just stupid.

Google isn't looking at anything you can't see from a legally-sized vehicle on a public road. If you have something private that can be seen from that vantage, you're not very smart.

Re:So very stupid (1)

achurch (201270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936559)

Google isn't looking at anything you can't see from a legally-sized vehicle on a public road. If you have something private that can be seen from that vantage, you're not very smart.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree there; that's the part I find sad, if perhaps inevitable. I would like to have seen more "gentlemanly restraint", so to speak, as opposed to "we can do this so we will".

Re:So very stupid (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27937123)

I think we'll have to agree to disagree there; that's the part I find sad, if perhaps inevitable. I would like to have seen more "gentlemanly restraint", so to speak, as opposed to "we can do this so we will".

Just like you CAN legally own a half dozen assault rifles with a few thousand rounds of ammunition, but you probably SHOULDN'T (or need to).

Re:So very stupid (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27937261)

I think we'll have to agree to disagree there

You think it's smart do to private things in public? I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree. (Or you're going to have to work on your English.)

Re:So very stupid (1)

thebheffect (1409105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936155)

If you want to throw your windows open and chat, go ahead. You probably don't have an issue of anyone seeing you doing so, from the street or otherwise.

Re:So very stupid (1)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936203)

Close your fucking curtains!

That's a really sad statement on the state of society.

Must every statement on Slashdot be misinterpreted to the maximum amount permitted by ridiculous thought? This isn't a rigid, unchangeable state. The curtains aren't welded shut, only to be opened or closed on the demand of your government or church. They're curtains! You can open and close them on your schedule. When you feel social, throw them open. If you require privacy, close them. When the sun shines, open them. When it's bedtime, close them.

It's just a simple concept that's not making a sociopolitical statement. It's applying common sense. You should, too.

Re:So very stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936443)

But the pattern on the curtains are top-secret intellectual property of the manufacturer of said curatins. If pictures of them are allowed to be posted on the Internet willy-nilly, before you know it people will be pirating said curtain patterns! This will lead to the catastrophic collapse of the world curtain markets, far exceeding any bank/car/insurance collapses you've seen already. They are too big to fail! Stop this rampant abuse of IP before the world ends.

Re:So very stupid (1)

achurch (201270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936475)

Must every statement on Slashdot be misinterpreted to the maximum amount permitted by ridiculous thought?

I don't know, but you seem to be doing a fine job of it.

I think the divide between me and the OP is like the difference between advisory and mandatory file locks. I see privacy as, at least in part, an issue of politeness: certain things (like the insides of people's homes, regardless of whether people happen to be naked there) are commonly understood to be private, and violating that privacy by e.g. taking pictures and posting them is frowned upon, even if technically possible/legal. Arguments like that made by the OP, on the other hand, seem to take the stand that anything not explicitly disallowed (e.g. by closing windows) goes, and woe unto him that neglects proper precautions.

As one who grew up under the advisory system, admittedly before the growth of the Internet that made the latter one such an issue, I find the mandatory system displeasing, hence my comment: from my position, the idea that one must shut one's curtains to be afforded privacy is a sad one. At the same time, I recognize the likelihood that the Internet will encourage it among younger generations (see Facebook, Twitter, etc.), hence my second paragraph.

Re:So very stupid (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27937083)

That's a really sad statement on the state of society. Whatever happened to quiet, friendly communities where you can throw your windows open to let in the fresh air and chat with passersby? Oh well, I suppose that once the next few crops of children grow up with no privacy, nobody who'd miss it will be around anymore.

Well the last time I visited the US I was appalled at how many bars there were on the windows of houses, that didn't seem very friendly. You almost never see that here in Canada, even in the big cities like Toronto.

Re:So very stupid (2, Insightful)

achurch (201270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27937289)

Well the last time I visited the US I was appalled at how many bars there were on the windows of houses, that didn't seem very friendly. You almost never see that here in Canada, even in the big cities like Toronto.

Where did you see them, out of curiosity? I honestly can't recall seeing such while I lived in the US (though I never visited the really big cities like New York or Chicago).

Re:So very stupid (2, Informative)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935937)

To be fair, the debate is whether or not to allow exhaustive street-level imagery. No one is suggesting making photographs from public locations illegal in general. (Well, some police forces actually are, but that's a separate debate...)

So in other words, you should say: "If you outlaw the acquisition and distribution of exhaustive street-level imagery, only outlaws will produce and distribute exhaustive street-level imagery."

Again, the debate is about whether doing something legal to an exhaustive extent (in this case, creating a massive database of location-specific images that is then freely available) becomes an an illegitimate act with respect to privacy. Many of us would agree that this logic applies in some cases. E.g. there's nothing illegal about looking up public records. But there comes a point where someone is so thoroughly investigating your life (getting all records, taking pictures of you in public, phoning people you know, etc.) that this collection of innocuous legal actions becomes a large illegal action (e.g. "stalking").

Having said all that, I find Google StreetViews very valuable (e.g. for planning trips or scoping out places to go...), so I hope society can reach a compromise that allows these images to be available without unduly infringing on anyone's privacy.

Re:So very stupid (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936063)

so I hope society can reach a compromise that allows these images to be available without unduly infringing on anyone's privacy.

There already IS a compromise like that, it's called what google is already doing. Google is NOT infringing on anyone's privacy because by definition anything that they are photographing is visible from a public thoroughfare. They are trampling some people's mistaken assumptions about privacy, though. Here's a hint: if you want something to be private, you don't do it in public.

The amount of data should not even be considered as a factor; if one person did what google is doing in every state of a nation, would that be too much data in one place? What if it was one person per city? Now, imagine that those people link their map sites together seamlessly. What's the difference between that and what we have now? That google did it for us?

Re:So very stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936273)

I see that "discretion" is not a word you've encountered much.

Re:So very stupid (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936347)

I see that "discretion" is not a word you've encountered much.

I try not to feed the trolls, but since this is actually a valid point and someone else might make it, here I go: I am the very soul of discretion. That is to say, if I need to keep something secret, I don't tell anyone, and I don't do it in public. Or did you mean the right to do as I please? Both apply here. Oddly, you may open or close your curtains at your discretion and I may photograph your house, with curtains open or not, at mine.

Re:So very stupid (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936935)

How about you let the people of Greece decide what THEY consider a compromise?

Re:So very stupid (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936719)

Security through obscurity never works.

This isn't about security, it's about privacy.

Breaking News! (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935773)

Greek Tourists Now Prohibited From Taking Photos In Public Places!

Re:Breaking News! (5, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935855)

Re:Breaking News! (1)

masterfpt (1435165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935997)

I wonder what would they do to anyone taking a picture of an ATM machine while being operated by two security guys...

Do they have death penalty?

Re:Breaking News! (2, Insightful)

esme (17526) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936001)

Can you really blame them for not believing that "normal" Britons go around looking at planes on military bases and keeping track of the call letters in their little books? While on vacation to Greece?

I certainly think the British government should have applied more pressure to get them out of jail sooner. But you have to admit their behavior was suspicious.

Re:Breaking News! (0, Troll)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936125)

Bollocks.

The Greek police are bandits, plain and simple. Ask any trucker who's passed through that shitpot of a country.

Re:Breaking News! (1)

Gregory Arenius (1105327) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936551)

"Can you really blame them for not believing that "normal" Britons go around looking at planes on military bases and keeping track of the call letters in their little books? While on vacation to Greece?"

Yes, I can. A little googling will show plenty of evidence to support plane-spotting being a hobby. Also, spies don't usually travel in groups of 12, with their wives, and openly go about collecting data.

I have to admit though, if I'm going to have a criminal record, espionage would be the one to have. Hell, if I had that on my record I might just change my last name to Bond and have fun with it.

Cheers,
Greg

WATBs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27935793)

Yeah, let's ban the satellite photos too. They're clearly an invasion of our privacy.

Also, documentary filmmakers should never be allowed to shoot in public. Why, they don't even have to blur faces!

Greece shows the way once again! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27935797)

Greece shows the way once again!!

Britain (2, Insightful)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935823)

Is anyone surprised Britain is ok with it? They've apparently been desensitized.

Re:Britain (0)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935923)

Seriously, they're the land of a million cameras.

Re:Britain (2, Funny)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935941)

Yeah, streetview is great. Us Brits can check up on all the CCTV cameras from the comfort of our armchairs.

Re:Britain (2, Interesting)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936999)

I think most Britain's hold the view, that what you do in public is public and what you do in a shop can be recorded by the store owners for whatever means they see fit. IMO this is a good deal, however some people are unhappy and looking for more privacy in public places (less CCTV) and thats also cool, it appears that the greek have a somewhat different balance and would rather not have thier public spaces photographed by streetview and IMO that is also fine.

What exactly do they plan to do? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27935839)

I guess the Greece Data Protection Authority (or, nambla) will ticket or arrest everyone that walks down the public street and happens to glance to the side, just in case the person 'remembers' an image of a public place?

What good is privacy when you are effectively banned from stepping out of your house?

I'd much rather live in a country where it isn't against the law to look at things other people place in my field of view.

Which?... (3, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#27935913)

Which would you prefer, a world in which you know you'll never stumble upon a picture of your home or car or face on the internet because your privacy is so secure or a world in which it is illegal for you to take a photo outdoors because you may have someone's home, car, or face in the frame and thus be breaking privacy laws? That's an important question for you to ask yourself before you take a stance on this issue...

Re:Which?... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936013)

Why is this a black or white type of question? I prefer to live in a world that no mass-scale imagery operation would threaten my right to cheat on my gf, to park my car wherever I like and to control what part of my privacy I will relinquish control.

Re:Which?... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936139)

How many people live in your country? How many have cameras? How many routinely take photos? How many post those photos online?

So yes, you ARE asking for all public photography to be banned since it is a mass-scale imaging operation already. It's simply that no one has yet taken the trouble to link all of them together at the level of google street view but it's simply a matter of time.

Re:Which?... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936361)

How many people live in your country? How many have cameras? How many routinely take photos? How many post those photos online?

11M according to latest poll. Most of them. Some of them. Few.

Compare this to about 10 photos per 10 meters that a Google camera car takes on average and you 'll see the difference between large scale and casual photo shooting. No need to mention that casual photos are geo-temporally clustered.

And by the way, I know what I am mean, you don't have to interpret my thoughts. I never asked to ban casual photo-shooting in public areas.

Re:Which?... (1)

thebheffect (1409105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936227)

There's no difference between the Google van catching you doing the dirty with someone else and your girlfriend casing the joint. Aside from the fact that your girlfriend has a higher chance of catching you.

Re:Which?... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936293)

Why is this a black or white type of question? I prefer to live in a world that no mass-scale imagery operation would threaten my right to cheat on my gf, to park my car wherever I like and to control what part of my privacy I will relinquish control.

We're *all* part of a "mass-scale imagery operation" now. A friend of mine got a warning from HR recently. He took a day off 'sick', and one of the managers saw him in a photo of the crowd outside a local games store on Flickr. *Anyone* with a camera could be violating your privacy on any public street at any time. The only way you can have your privacy in public is to make it a crime to use cameras, camera-phones, web-cams, or any other digital image recorder in a public place.

Good luck making that law extend to police, government agencies, or anyone else who can play the law-and-order or public safety card.

Re:Which?... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936527)

Huh? Isn't that the same choice twice?

Can we have an option C?

Re:Which?... (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936597)

Um, yes. It is the same choice twice. Which is proof that one should never post a reply to /. before they've completed their morning coffee... With luck most people will know what I was trying to say rather than what my fingers butchered...

Extremism (5, Insightful)

Option1 (572066) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936019)

I really am bemused by the extreme ranges of responses to this story. It seems that there is only either end of the spectrum - "Yay, for Greek Government for protecting our privacy" to "I trust Google more than I trust any government" - and almost no middle ground. Have we really become that fractured and that single-minded about things?

Neil

What about government? (1)

jevring (618916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936053)

It's nice that we have laws governing things like this, and that we can take companies to court when we believe that they have broken them. Supposedly government can be taken to court as well. However, it's rare that anything ever comes from it. When a company is wrong, they get punished. When the government is wrong, the law is amended to make them right. In the odd case where the government can't get the laws amended, they simply continue doing what they were doing before, it's just that they don't tell anyone. Not that they were telling anyone to begin with, but that's the government for you.

What it is *really* for... (5, Interesting)

JerryQ (923802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936103)

Years ago I built a panoramic, stereographic photography system (spaceshot) and also did a great deal of work with rendering and measuring spaces using stereo images. This leads me to the following theory, which, if Google are NOT doing what I describe here would be pretty damn surprising. J from: http://jerrykew.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] If you have a perfect spherical photo of a city, taken at equidistant intervals, then you have the necessary information (think stereo images) to reverse engineer the 3D form of the city. Google will build a virtual version of every city, and we will click on objects in that 'space' to go to sites. PPC ads will follow in the space, and thus their investment in Google Maps, Earth, Sketchup and Streetview will deliver their returns. I am sure they will be playing with it now in their labs.

Bribe (3, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936131)

This is Greece we're talking about. Google just hasn't bribed the right person yet. This is just part of the procedure to extract money from foreign nationals.

Re:Bribe (2, Insightful)

xlotlu (1395639) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936401)

Oh take off your US-manufactured tinfoil hat. From TFA:

The authority has repeatedly ruled against Greece's conservative government and banned the use of street cameras for fighting crime. The cameras were set up as part of elaborate security preparations for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

It also clashed with the Greek Orthodox Church after it ruled that recording Greek citizens' religion on state ID cards was illegal.

If only more countries had such agencies...

Re:Bribe (1)

KritonK (949258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936803)

Not to mention, also from TFA:

The DPA on Monday also ordered a Greek mapping site, kapou.gr, to suspend a similar street-level image service until it provides further privacy clarifications and uses face-blurring on its online images. The Greek site on Tuesday said it had stopped posting photographs while it was upgrading its service.

Re:Bribe (1)

Ian-K (154151) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936647)

My cynical side is very tempted to agree...

Our government works a lot like that, but more like in shady deals with the ultra rich (much like Cheney et al do over there, might I remind you -- at least we're not invading other countries as part of those deals).

This, however, is one of the rare cases where the govt system worked like it was supposed to (ok, maybe a bit overzealous, but what the hell)

Re:Bribe (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27937219)

This is Greece we're talking about. Google just hasn't bribed the right person yet. This is just part of the procedure to extract money from foreign nationals.

I believe you are thinking of Turkey or India.

They just misunderstood (1)

PitViper401 (619163) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936185)

The Greeks just misunderstood the driver of the Google van! He said he was going to sneak some trojans inside the van and the Greeks feared that the Trojans' time for revenge had come!

maybe...? (1)

ilblissli (1480165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936249)

Maybe Greese doesn't want to be known for more google flashers like this guy...(NSFW) http://media.googlesightseeing.com/2009/5/ajdt209.jpg [googlesightseeing.com] or possibly they don't want to be caught going to strip clubs like this guy.. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=l&hl=en&geocode=&q=cheaters&near=Providence,+RI&layer=c&ie=UTF8&ll=41.838618,-71.402206&spn=0.061005,0.116386&z=13&om=0&cbll=41.807434,-71.403703&cbp=1,567.3164656162561,,0,0.7974551423761682 [google.com] and just for fun here are some other odd sightings... http://mashable.com/2007/05/31/top-15-google-street-view-sightings/ [mashable.com]

The DPA might have a point (5, Insightful)

xlotlu (1395639) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936301)

So (emphasis mine),

DPA said it wanted clarification from the U.S. Internet company on how it will store and process the original images and safeguard them from privacy abuses

despite

Google's assurances that it would blur faces and vehicle license plates when displaying the images online.

The question is then, does Google store the images with faces and license plates blurred, or that's just post-processing for online display?

Google's statement definitely tends to point at the latter. And I could see a few problems there.

Re:The DPA might have a point (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 5 years ago | (#27937243)

No camera on the planet automatically does this blurring. So there is at a minimum a transition between unblurred and blurred photos.

You depend on good faith alone that the unblurred photos are destroyed.

2 different things (2, Informative)

tonylemesmer (48775) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936333)

The Greeks would seem to be specifically asking about how the __original__ images are to be handled, not just how the images which eventually make onto the service will be presented. 2 different things.

Huh? (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936461)

While Ms Dixon states it almost as a pre-established fact, I'm not sure one can assert "It only takes one country to express a dissenting opinion".

North Korea, China, Iran...there are a quick handful of countries who would quite clearly 'dissent', yet I don't see case law being formulated to accommodate their views.

The whole "right" to privacy is a vague and questionable concept anyway. Clearly it doesn't apply where lawbreaking is concerned (not many people are murdered in public; ergo someone's privacy must be violated to apprehend the murderer).

So what is the much-bandied "right to privacy"? It was really a concept INVENTED in the late 19th century by Judge Brandeis, before he was a USSC judge. As far as I can tell (and Wiki seems to back me up on this), there are 4 basic precepts:
      1. the protection of one's identity as unique
      2. protection from defamation
      3. protection of one's private facts
      4. protecting someone's ability to be left alone
NONE of these are articulated in the US Constitution, and in fact #4 may be directly contrary to some basic concepts of modern civilization - for example the idea that the law is pervasive and applies to everyone, it doesn't stop at your threshold.

So where does this come from? IMO it's a natural reaction to the increasing pervasiveness of state power, and not unjustified. But let's be clear: the assertion that it's a "right" is not established in law or custom.

But... (1)

yt8znu35 (1202731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936489)

Maybe it is for the children.

I think they mean the Parthenon (1)

thoughtspace (1444717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936605)

Wow Google, will I really see the Acropolis on street view? Gee, the rock bit!

Dear Google, people go to Athens to see the Parthenon which is on top of the Acropolis, has no roads to it, and not visible from street level.

If you can't go on holiday. There are many books and sites that are much better.

Eventually, Google's going to get somebody killed (1, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936679)

When Google alleges that what they show is no different from what could be seen by a person walking down the street, they miss the point. That hypothetical viewer is also part of the scenery...and can be seen. For example, someone lurking in the area of a women's shelter would run the risk of being noticed and identified. Google allows such a person to stalk their victim safely and securely, and merely blurring faces and license plates wouldn't prevent an abuser from identifying their victim with ease.

Privacy is easy to lose, and almost impossible to get back.

Is google going to be our big brother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936979)

Our government tell us that we can have cameras anywhere we like - look the british.

Our banks can take photos of our eyes.

Football teams have surveillance.

C4I is spying on us since 2004.

Is google going to be our big brother?

Welcome all to Greece and do anything you like - naked or not.

The anonymous coward

Protecting your own privacy (2, Interesting)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27937175)

The decision comes despite Google's assurances that it would blur faces and vehicle license plates when displaying the images online and that it would promptly respond to removal requests.

So while I can go to my house and request that google blur the license plate of my car in my driveway. How else do I find my license plate in the pictures that are not of my driveway? Do I have to now check out ALL of the various gas stations, supermarkets, parking lots etc... that my car could have been photographed? What about all the highways and streets that I've driven?

It seems that google is saying in the above quote, "If you can find something you don't like, then we'll blur it.

It's very possible (how ever probably) that someone could be convicted (or proven innocent) because their license plate was in various street view maps.

While I do like streetview because it allows me to see what a give store/location actually looks like before I drive there. It also enables "evil doers" to see that type of car that everyone on my street has, or parks in their driveway. And very easily compare it against the hundreds of other streets in the area. Sure criminals could do this by hand, but in this case it doesn't require the criminal to fly from NY to SanFrancisco and drive around with a camera. They just open up a web browser and put in various addresses to mine the database for neighborhoods with Porsches in the driveway.

Does google have any safeguards in place from someone recording all sorts of data/screenshots and running OCR on them? To record thousands of license plates? I wonder what privacy advocates would think if they knew that one could build a database of "License Plate & Street Address" Sure there would be some margin for error (say when your car is at another house, but I'd bet those building this database are willing to live with that.

Google should be by default blurring all license plates and faces. I haven't seen a reason yet justifying why they need to display either faces or license plates.

Photographs != Video Surveillance (4, Interesting)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 5 years ago | (#27937399)

This is ridiculous. It's one snapshot taken at a more or less random time. How is this an invasion of privacy when the picture is taken in a public place? Total idiocy.

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