Israel gives go-ahead to Street View

Israel’s Justice Ministry has given the green light to Google’s Street View cars, which will start capturing images of Jerusalem as soon as next month.

After mulling it over for six months, the country’s data protection watchdog, the ILITA, has agreed a deal with Google, but one that imposes a number of conditions.

“The commitments taken by Google match the standard in countries which have a high level of data protection,” says ILITA head Yoram Hacohen in a statement.

The ILITA has asked Google to mark its cars clearly, and also to inform the public in advance of the route the cars are to take. And, like many other countries, it wants the public to be able to request that certain images be blurred, including individual houses, as well as faces and license plates.

And, concerned that the Street View data’s held on servers in the US, it’s insisting that any users that want to sue Google will be able to do that through the Israeli courts, rather than in the US.

“Our purpose was to provide the public with substantive and legal recourse in Israel for any problem or complaint that may arise, and I am happy to mention that Google seriously took our requirements into consideration and that its cooperation enabled this authorization,” says Hacohen.

Google refused to tell the AFP news agency whether or not the cars would operate in the occupied West Bank or in Palestinian territories.