Google Street View on the verge of coming to Israel

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The Israeli government is debating whether it should allow Google Street View to photograph Israeli cities, weighing the potential increase in tourism against the obvious security risks involved. Palestinian militants have already admitted to using Google Earth to scope out targets for their attacks.

Privacy watchdog Center for Digital Democracy also raised the Big Brother issue:

"It will be the Israeli security forces, in addition to users, that will be viewing the system to identify potential threats and those suspected of potential anti-governmental actions," said CDD executive director, Jeffrey Chester. "The melding of governmental and commercial interests to enhance citizen eavesdropping is a chilling prospect."

In many of the twenty-seven countries where Google Street View currently operates, privacy issues have been seriously examined by legislators and regulators, and naturally it's going to be an especially sensitive issue in Israel, though Israeli Cabinet members want to give it the green light. Google said they were interested in operating in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and possibly Haifa. Street View would surely be prohibited from photographing certain high-security locations.