Daily Israel Report

Israel, Other Countries Write to Google With Privacy Concerns

Israel is among ten countries to contact internet empire Google with a request to change a couple of their programs.
By Malkah Fleisher
First Publish: 4/21/2010, 10:30 PM / Last Update: 4/21/2010, 10:50 PM

Google Maps

Israel is among ten countries whose privacy, security, and information-protection officials have contacted internet empire Google with a request to change a couple of their programs.

Israel, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany all signed a letter Monday to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, to complain about two Google products which they say create major privacy and security problems, according to the Associated Press.

Google Buzz, which was launched in February, attempted to piggyback on the success of social networking by automatically creating 'friends' for users chosen based on who the user contacts most. Changes have already been made to the program following complaints, yet the countries said they were disturbed that Buzz was created in the first place.

Another program similar to the popular Google Maps application, Google Street View, provides map users with detailed street-level pictures of locations provided by cars which periodically drive through neighborhoods with cameras. In a random search of a location, details of the home included the most minute details, such as potted plants, and even the car which was parked out in front at the time the picture was taken.

In Israel, concerns may include the use of such detailed photos by Arabs to conduct terror attacks in the country.

According to the AP, Google replied by saying the issues the nations addressed had been discussed before, but that the company has worked quickly to remedy problems in the past.