Google-mobiles start snapping Aussie cities

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Google-mobiles start snapping Aussie cities

Camera-shy pedestrians should be advised to stay indoors this summer as a fleet of Google-mobiles equipped with roof-mounted cameras trawl Australian capital cities snapping locales for the Internet search giant’s Google Street View.

The cars will be doing the rounds in Australian capital cities, taking 360 degree panoramic street-level photographs to be used on Google Maps’ Street View feature.

The project, which has been running in the US since May has already captured images in 17 cities in North America and Canada.

The service has not been without controversy however, with both privacy advocates and government personnel raising concerns over the legality of the captured images.

Images to raise the ire of privacy advocates include snaps taken of women sunbathing, men outside strip clubs and even people urinating on sidewalks. The identities of such individuals have since been modified or removed to protect their privacy.

But amid these privacy concerns, Google Australia has maintained the company will do all in its power to comply with local laws.

“We're giving very considerable thought to how best to safeguard Australians' privacy, including consulting experts and community groups, while enabling all Australians to benefit from this new feature,” said Google Australia's head of corporate communications Rob Shilkin. “Street View only features images that anyone can see walking down any public street and we are complying with the principles and requirements of Australian law.”

He said once the images had been collected, they would begin to appear on the Google Maps feature sometime in 2008.
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