Israeli cabinet members are discussing whether to allow Google Street View to photograph Israeli streets at ground level. While the project has been given a cautious go-ahead, some cabinet members are concerned about the potential use of the images, especially by terrorists.
Attorney Yoram Hacohen heads up the Israeli Law, Information and Technology Authority at the Justice Ministry. The Authority is designed to protect the privacy of electronic information, and the popular Street View map by Google is raising concerns about privacy. For Israel, the defense of privacy is crucial.
Google uses the photographs to create a database. Israeli law required that it request permission before beginning the photography. The ministry is currently in debate about the privacy issues surrounding Street View.
While software has been developed to blur out vital information, like faces or license plates, it is not 100% and does not block all vital information. The program has even been known to block unnecessary information, like the face of Colonel Sanders on the KFC.
Lt. Colonel Mordechai Kedar stated that Israel has already had problems with Google Earth, which displays satellite images of homes and buildings, exposing a wide variety of facilities. Palestinians militants in the Gaza Strip have stated that Google Earth is used to identify targets.
The discussion will continue over Google Street View as ministers and cabinet members decide whether allowing this service will pose a greater security threat. In the mean time, Google is biding its time, stating in an email correspondence that, while they intend to bring Street View to Israel, there is no specific time table.