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Greece takes a dim view of Street View

ATHENS, GREECE – Greece has suspended Google Street View from gathering any more images for its Street View application, because of privacy concerns.

The Hellenic Data Protection Authority’s decision comes despite promises from Google that it would blur faces and vehicle license plates, and that it would remove images on request.

The authority has asked Google for more information on how long images will be retained, and wants the company to make it clearer when people are actually being photographed.”Simply marking the car is not considered an adequate form of notification,” said the authority.

Street View provides ground-level, panoramic 360-degree images. Google has been collecting photographs in Greece since April. The service was launched in 2007 in the US, and has since been extended to the UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain and Italy.

This is not the first time that Street View has got Google in trouble. Last year, the Pentagon prevented it from photographing US military bases. More recently, the residents of a small English village formed a human chain to stop one of the company’s vans from photographing them.

“We have received a request for further information from the Greek DPA and we are happy to continue discussing these issues with them and provide information they request.  We will discuss with them whether it is appropriate for us to continue driving in the meantime,” said a spokesperson.  “We believe that launching Street View in Greece will offer enormous benefits to both Greek users and the people elsewhere who are interested in taking a virtual tour of some of its many tourist attractions.”