Issued in April-May 2008

Superseded by the Policy Statement of August 2008


Google Street View allows users to view 360° panoramic street level images of a selected number of cities. The images have been captured using a car equipped with a large number of wide-angle cameras. Consequently, the images are not streamed live, but represent one particular moment in time. So far only US cities can be viewed, but Google has captured images from Australian cities, and estimates that an Australian version of Google Street View will be available during the second half of 2008.

Privacy Concerns

There is no doubt that Google Street View is an exciting development with legitimate uses. However, it is equally obvious that it gives rise to privacy concerns.

A few examples of privacy concerns are:

But those are just some of the more obvious issues. StreetView is genuinely innovative. The images are to be linked systematically into a massive global data system, and then combined with maps, satellite photographs, directories and search engines. In that way, many views of each place and its inhabitants can be constructed. And it's all available to all comers to mix and mash with anything else they can lay their hands on. The use of photos taken from public places, of variously 'public' and 'private' places, is risky, and demands close consideration. It is likely that at least some aspects of its use will require careful regulation.

APF POLICY re Google Street View