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Google Street View Might Violate Canadian Privacy Law

Although it’s not yet available in Canada, Canada’s privacy commissioner has raised concerns preemptively that Google’s Street View photography could violate the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act of 2004.

This article is part of Local Search Week here at Search Engine Land, a special look at local search marketing issues in the run-up to our SMX Local & Mobile conference next month.

The act is broadly geared toward providing “Canadians with a right of privacy with respect to their personal information that is collected, used or disclosed by an organization in the private sector in an era in which technology increasingly facilitates the collection and free flow of information.”

More stringent and complex privacy rules in Canada would make it more challenging to roll out street-level photography there. The Canadian act appears to require consent in some circumstances, where individuals are identifiable in photographs, before publication. As a practical matter that would be impossible. Google has a process in place to request removal of images after they appear in Street View.

Google’s partner in the Street View effort, Immersive Media, is based in Canada.

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