Privacy campaigners are to launch a legal challenge against Google’s new Street View service which shows 360-degree photographs of public roads.
The Street View service covers 22,360 miles of roads in 25 cities around the UK. Users can zoom in on images and virtually “walk” streets.
But campaigners claim it violates the right to privacy and could be used to plan crimes.
Simon Davies, of Privacy International, said: “These images are being captured without people’s permission for commercial use, and we believe that it is not legally acceptable.
“They are also putting into place a system for updating these images in the future, and for storing the images digitally where they could be misused.” Google was last year investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office over the plans, but was given the all clear.
The ICO said: “We are satisfied that Google is putting in place adequate safeguards to avoid any risk to the privacy or safety of individuals, including the blurring of vehicle registration marks and the faces of anyone included in Street View images.”
The site uses millions of digital pictures of streets captured using a fleet of cars with 360 degree cameras on their roofs.
Google said it had gone to great lengths to avoid privacy problems.
A spokesman said: “We have software that automatically blurs car numberplates and faces.
“Any user can easily flag images for removal by clicking on a ‘Report a concern’ link. We believe we have addressed all the issues.”