Last week, several news outlets reported
that Google will alter the version of its Street Views product that it plans to launch in Canada. To comply with Canadian privacy law, the images of Canadian cities available through Street Views - photos of public places taken at eye-level to give the perspective of a pedestrian - will have human faces and vehicle license plate numbers blurred. Google decided to take this step after receiving a letter from Canadian privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart, who raised concerns about whether the product would respect national privacy laws.
Going back nearly a decade, CDT has promoted
the creation of an independent privacy entity within the federal government empowered with the scope, expertise, and authority to guide our nation's policies on privacy. This entity would not only monitor commercial and technological developments with respect to privacy, but could also conduct research, recommend new policies, and provide oversight for government agency privacy compliance. Our neighbors to the north seem to have embraced this concept, and perhaps one day soon we will follow their lead.