Having experienced problems in many countries, Google shall have to guarantee protection of privacy and personal data of Serbian citizens to Rodoljub Sabic.
Regarding the news that Street View will be launched in Serbia, Rodoljub Sabic, Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection has stated that Google is already applying the technology for blurring faces and license plates, and that everyone is entitled to request blurring of any portion of the image which contains the data on themselves, their car or home.
Google has recently formally requested the Commissioner to approve the launching of its Street View Project in our country. This means that the vehicles of the Corporation from California shall be driving on streets and collecting imagery which shall then be used by Google Maps. The service shall enable the users to see, for example, the streets of Belgrade as they really are with real buildings, houses and shops. The trouble is that cameras may inadvertently collect imagery of people and their activities, and in some countries they have indeed ''captured'' imagery of courtyards and house interiors, which prompted the citizens of European countries to warn the American Company that it needs to ensure the protection of privacy of individuals. Google has experienced problems in several European countries because of this and the Serbian Commissioner has said that he shall demand of Google to adhere to the standards of privacy protection, i.e. personal data protection, set forth in our legislation and in international documents. This raises the question which imagery shall, and which not, the vehicles of the Corporation be allowed to collect.
– Google's cars take, i.e. collect street-level pictures. They show what a human eye would see from the same position. Of course, imagery is not published in real time, and not all collected imagery shall be made public, because certain things need to be blurred – explains Sabic.
– In addition, I believe that both the condition that vehicles should clearly be marked with Google's logo and the condition that their driving in designated parts of the city to collect imagery should be made public in advance serve the purpose of privacy protection as well.
Street View has already collected and published images of numerous cities and towns of the world. The latest projects include 360-degree-view from the Eiffel Tower and the top of the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai. The IT giant does not need permission to come to Serbia, because, in principle, collection of imagery of cities, towns and streets, as pointed out by Sabic, does not require anyone's permission, including his. Nevertheless, the Company has requested the Commissioner's opinion so as to jointly prevent the problems, which have arisen in the countries where Google has previously sent its vehicles. The Commissioner shall therefore require it to guarantee personal data protection.
– As for the duration of the process, I would not like to speculate. I can only say that we will do our best to prevent any delays. We shall specify clear requirements and if Google offers valid guarantees the process shall be completed relatively quickly.
The activities conducted within this Google's Project shall comply with the Law on Personal Data Protection. Sabic has said that in some cases other legislation shall apply and that the Company may ,,be required to seek and obtain approval from some other public authorities in order to collect imagery of certain buildings".
Street View has gained popularity due to its realistic presentation of towns and cities – by using photographs and images, and not drawings, animations and special effects. Its users may explore faraway metropolises and tourist attractions, or traffic and places to hang out in a part of a city or town. However dream to see the world of some has turned into a nightmare for others when they realized that Google's cameras came to close to them. In England Street View happened to reveal adulterers taking a walk, while in Japan it cracked open the gates and doors, i.e. it ''captured'' courtyards, and even interior of houses. That is the reason why many countries insisted that Google should blur the faces of individuals and delete all images which violate privacy. However, the biggest scandal occurred in Germany where the Company was also fined because its vehicles collected e-mail, photographs, online searches and passwords from computers with unsecured wireless internet connections while collecting imagery of districts of German cities. Sabic therefore says that all individuals in Serbia shall have the right to protection from personal data downloading.
– This primarily refers to Google's incidents in certain countries where its vehicles have, incidentally or not, downloaded certain data from unsecured wireless networks. This, of course, cannot be tolerated – says Sabic.