To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they authorised Google Earth to photograph streets in the United Kingdom for publication on the internet; and, if so, whether it was a requirement of that authorisation that Google Earth obtains the permission of local residents before photographing their property or street. [HL318]
I am replying as the Ministry of Justice is responsible for data protection policy.
No authorisation is required for taking photographs of streets in the United Kingdom for publication on the internet.
The Data Protection Act 1998 is administered and enforced by the Information Commissioner's Office independently of government.
The Information Commissioner has issued advice about Google Street View, one of Google Earth's features. The commissioner's view is that Google Street View is very unlikely to breach the Data Protection Act 1998. The full document: can be accessed at the Commissioner's website at http://www.ico.gov.uk/global/search.aspx?collection=ico&keywords=street+ view.