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Hitta.se streetview

Swedish Search Engine Site "Invades Privacy"

Published måndag 8 februari 2010 kl 12.16
Zooming in could invade your privacy

Google and its Swedish competitor hitta.se are the subject of escalating complaints about invasions of privacy, according to newspaper Sydsvenskan.

The complaints centre on the search engines websites use of "streetviews" which zoom in on objects, including people, in extreme close-up, without the protection of annonymity enjoyed by other countries.

Sydsvenskan writes that anyone hoping to get help from the Swedish Data Inspection Board will be left disappointed.

" It must be very strange for citizens when there are completely different regulations applied to the exact same thing. It is not satisfactory," says Göran Gräslund, director general of The Data Inspection Board, to Sydsvenskan

Rui Brites de Sousa, mangaging director and responsible publisher for Hitta.se does not consider any pictures published on the site a threat against personal integrity. However, as a result of several complaints, Brites de Souza told TT that Hitta.se has in fact removed a couple of pictures.

"For example, pictures of children playing naked outside their summer houses."

Google and hitta.se vans circulate towns and countryside photographing public places that are then intergrated in to panoramic 360 degree pictures. These pictures are subsequently available to the masses. Hitta.se already houses a catalogue of 409 284 photos spanning the nine Swedish cities available for streetview. Of those pictures, Stockholm accounts for 244 800 photos alone.

Google says it offers the option to erase faces or vehicle registration numbers from its photos.

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