by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
photographs, privacy, royal wedding, street view, uk

bbc, google

Google Street View Is Invasion Of Privacy... But The BBC Showing Everyone At The Royal Wedding?

from the double-standards dept

We've been somewhat mystified about the complaints people have about images of people on Google Street View. Google is now "blurring" people to help deal with the issue, but it seems pretty silly, really. You're out in public. Someone can randomly take your photo. Of course, the backlash against Google Street View has been particularly harsh throughout Europe, where people insist it's a massive affront to their privacy. And yet... Glyn Moody points us to a blog post comparing the reaction to Street View to the reaction to the BBC putting up a high-def image of crowds at the Royal Wedding, and asking people if they can spot themselves.
This raises an interesting question on privacy and balance.

Google decided to blur the faces of ordinary people going about their ordinary activities caught on Street View.

The BBC have decided, where events like the Royal Wedding are concerned, it's fine to have high definition street shots showing the faces of ordinary people in the crowd; not to mention police officers, armed forces and - presumably - under-cover crowd security officers.
It certainly seems like a double standard. Is there something different about this being an "event"? I can't see how that makes much of a difference, really. Is there something about it being a "US" company vs. a UK organization? Or do people just not really think through these things until someone freaks out and screams "privacy violation!"?

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 4 May 2011 @ 9:11am

    It'd be clearer if it were a venue - there's often a standard disclaimer for "public" venues in the UK (or venues that let the public in) to say basically "You may be filmed in this venue and we can use it so there and you accept this by coming in". But in a public place like the Mall? I wonder if you could stretch that to an "event area. I suspect not.

    As for the Google thing, it was dumb in the first place. It might have been nice if they'd had a process where you could spot yourself and apply to be taken out (likely that'd be covered by the UK Data Protection Act) but a blanket "But what about my privacy standing here in full view" scrape seemed a bit of a stretch at the time.

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