REFILE-Israel govt OKs use of Google Street Views

Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:09am EDT

(Corrects paragraph six to give Hacohen's full name and title)

By Steven Scheer

JERUSALEM Aug 22 (Reuters) - Israel's government has approved a request by Google Inc to operate its Street View application in Israel -- with conditions attached to ensure citizens' privacy and security.

Google approached Israel's government a few months ago to allow it to operate Street View, which enables users of Google Maps to view photos of streets as well.

"We had constructive discussions with security and data protection authorities and we are happy they are comfortable to bring the service to Israel," a Google Israel spokesman said.

Street View has been around since 2007 -- sending its cars out to take photos of city streets -- and covers about 30 countries, including the United States, many in Europe, Australia, South Africa and Japan.

Street View agreed to blur images of licence plates and homes in Israel and Google Street View cars will be clearly marked so the public can recognise them easily.

"The terms approved by us, allow the operation of this valuable service while safeguarding the Israeli public's right to privacy," said Yoram Hacohen, head of the Israeli Law Information and Technology Authority, the country's privacy regulator at the Justice Ministry.

(Reporting by Steven Scheer)

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