Google Street View will become available in Israel now that the Law, Information and Technology Authority at the Justice Ministry decided Sunday to allow the Internet giant to operate its camera cars here.
The Google Street View service allows users of Google Maps to see a 360-degree panoramic view of streets and public spaces. The service has existed since 2007 and already covers broad areas of the U.S., European countries, Australia and South Africa. The images are taken by a car with a panoramic camera affixed to its roof. Photos are automatically uploaded to Google’s network and hyperlinked to the relevant Google Maps.
Despite the advantages of GSV, it does have negative implications for the privacy of local residents. The cameras randomly receive images of people and other objects that contain personal information, like license plate numbers and specific home addresses. Google already automatically blurs people’s faces as well as all identifying numbers after having received complaints from users in other countries.
Google’s request for a license to operate in Israel was approved subject to certain stipulations meant to safeguard the rights of the Israeli public.
Among the conditions, Google has agreed to allow Israelis to initiate civil law suits against the company over service violations. Also, the Internet site will allow anyone photographed in Israel to request the blurring of figures, license plates and houses if they are not automatically blurred for some reason.