Google, our modern-day cartographers, have been discovering new ways to map out the world since 2007 when they came out with Google Maps. One of the ways in which they’ve created their online globe is through ‘Street View’, a set of photographic images that gives you an actual 360 degree view of the address you have entered. When you search for an address on Google Maps and use the Street View feature, with a little imagination you can pretend as if you’re in that location and walk the streets, take in the sites, and look up at the sky. Israel, together with several other countries, has objected to the potential loss of privacy that Google Street View creates, and has not allowed the company’s photography crews to document the country.
But now, Israel is allowing Google to operate its Street View feature, enabling locals to get better directions and foreigners to explore the country in new ways without getting on an environmentally polluting airplane.
In the past, the Israeli Justice Ministry has been concerned that people’s faces or license plate numbers would be exposed on Google Street View, but it is now asking Google to respect privacy and its authorization is dependent upon a number of conditions:
- Israeli Street View users will be given an efficient, reliable way to blur images of license plates, residences, and other objects.
- Google will provide a full explanation of the Street View service, citizens’ rights, and the intended routes of the Google Street View camera crews.
- Google will instruct Google Israel to follow the country’s legal proceedings.
Negotiations between the Israeli Justice Ministry and Google have been going on for three months. “We are happy that the Law, Information and Technology Authority has given clearance for the operation of Street View in Israel,” Google said. “We hope to update our information in the near future.”
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