Canadian privacy commissioner probing
Google[http://www.PoliticsWatch.com Updated 5:30 p.m., September 12, 2007]
|Google has run into trouble with Canada's
OTTAWA — Canada's
privacy watchdog is warning Internet giant Google that its new
mapping feature may be in violation of Canadian privacy laws.
Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart wrote a letter
in August to David C. Drummond, senior vice president,
corporate development and chief legal officer for Google,
issuing the warning.
At the centre of the controversy is a new generation of Google maps
known as Street View, which are street-level photos of nine
different cities where people are clearly visible in the images. The pictures used were developed by Immersive Media.
Although the Street View application is currently limited to nine U.S. cities, Stoddardt noted in her letter that Immersive Media's Web site refers to Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City as Canadians cities that have been imaged.
"I am concerned that, if the Street View application were deployed in Canada, it might not comply with our federal privacy
legislation," Stoddart said in her letter.
"In particular, it does not appear to meet the basic requirements of knowledge, consent, and limited collection and use as set out in the legislation."
The law Stoddart referred to in her letter was the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents (PIPEDA) Act.
Under that law, business are required to obtain an individual's consent if they collect and disclose personal information about them.
"Our Office considers images of individuals that are sufficiently clear to allow an individual to be identified to be personal information within the meaning of PIPEDA," Stoddart added.
The privacy commissioner has requested Google provide a response to
her concerns "as soon as possible."
Google has also come under fire internationally for its recent
takeover of Web advertising supplier DoubleClick.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the European
Commission and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission are all
reviewing the Google takeover and its impact on the Internet
© PoliticsWatch® 2007. All rights reserved. Republication
or redistribution of PoliticsWatch content, including by framing,
copying, linking or similar means, is expressly prohibited without
the prior written consent of Public Interests Research and Communications
Inc. (PIRCINC). PoliticsWatch is registered trademark of PIRCINC.