The Law, Information and Technology Authority at the Justice Ministry allowed on Sunday Google to operate its “Street View” service in public places throughout Israel.
The authority permitted the technology giant to use special portable cameras in public space that can fully survey its surroundings at a 360-degree-angle. It also allowed the pictures taken by Google to be directly uploaded to its Google Maps service; however, the authority mandated that Google protect the privacy of its users.
The authority granted Google the right to run Street View in Israel on several conditions: The first is that Google would obligate Google Israel to accept Israeli legal ruling so that all civil proceedings would be conducted in Israel. Google also agreed to give the authority the right to file criminal proceedings against it in Israel if necessary.
Google Street View has come under harsh criticism from several states after it was discovered that the service both publicized images that included people’s faces and license plates and collected personal information when they mapped out wireless networks. As a result, governments demanded that Google blur people’s faces, and in several places is Europe citizens blocked off streets and prevented cameras from being brought into their neighborhoods.
The Justice Ministry took Israelis’ privacy into consideration when it allowed Google to operate the service, demanding that when the site shows pictures it give the public a mechanism that would allow them to request that faces, license plates and homes be blurred after they are uploaded in the event that they aren’t blurred automatically by the system.
In addition to this, Google is to publish a full explanation of the service, civilian’s rights, and the route the cameras will take when photographing the public.
Google said that it is “happy that the Law, Information and Technology Authority at the Justice Ministry has allowed the operation of Street View in Israel, and we hope to provide an update about our plans in the near future.”