Google Street View takes wrong turn in Japan and Greece

Google has continued to experience international incidents as it attempts to take its Street View feature worldwide. It’s been forced to start again from scratch in Japan, while Greece has put a freeze on the firm shooting any more images.

Staff collecting images in Japan will ditch the work they’ve already done after complaints that the pictures included too much detail from private areas. The firm has agreed to lower the positioning of the cameras mounted on its cars by 16 inches to reduce the likelihood of seeing over fences into private areas.

The firm says it recognizes this is a local issue caused by the narrowness of many Japanese streets, with very little distance between the street and the homes themselves. Lowering the cameras allows the firm to keep locals happy, without compromising its previous stance that it’s acceptable to photograph any view which could be seen by somebody standing in a public area.

Meanwhile data protection officials in Greece have rejected Google’s promises that it will blur all faces and license plates before publishing pictures. The Data Protection Authority has ordered the firm to halt taking any more pictures until after a review of the legality of the scheme.

The Associated Press notes that the Authority has particularly strong powers over public photography and filming and even put restrictions on government security cameras set up for the Athens Olympics.

This week’s incidents follow a mixed reaction for locals to Google’s Street View projects around the world. Angry villagers in one British street physically prevented the firm’s car from taking shots of their homes. However, locals in Pittsburgh were more welcoming, creating this lively if somewhat unrepresentative image of one alleyway.