Internet giant Google has defended plans to photograph millions of British homes and publish the snapshots online.
As part of a planned UK launch of Street View - a tool which allows users to navigate using 360-degree street level pictures - the search engine has deployed a fleet of camera cars to log details.
Campaigners have attacked the move as an invasion of privacy but Google defended its actions, stating that it employs face-blurring technology.
Street Map already allows people in the US to navigate using the innovative tool. In addition, cycling enthusiasts can currently trace the Tour de France route.
Google has confirmed it is now in the process of photographing Britain as part of the Street View project.
A spokeswoman said: “Google works hard to make sure that our products respect both users’ expectations of privacy, and local privacy laws, in each country in which they are launched. Google Maps Street View is no exception.”
The company uses face and number plate-blurring techniques but admits that some cases slip through.
The spokeswoman added: “The technology isn’t perfect - it will sometimes miss a face or licence plate, for example if they are partially covered, or at a difficult angle - but we make it easy within the product for users to report a face or licence plate for extra blurring, or to ask for their image to be removed.”
But the planned launch has been condemned by those demanding that individual rights are protected.
Simon Davies, of Privacy International, wrote to Google outlining his concern that claims of protection are being made that cannot be upheld.
The letter states that unless these fears are addressed, the campaign group will be forced to lodge a complaint with the UK Information Commissioner “with a request that Street View deployment be suspended pending a formal investigation”.