The legal protection of personal data in the case of “Google street view”: A comparative study of US, EU, and Thai laws

  • Kanathip Thongraweewong Dean of faculty of law, Saint John’s University, Thailand
Keywords: Google street view, Data protection law, privacy law, personal data


“Google street view” was released in 2007 as part of “Google maps which enables users to view real panoramic street-level imagery. The images are recorded by vehicles equipped with advanced imaging technology, driving down the road. In the initial stage, the scope of images was restricted to the cities in the U.S. However, the scope has expanded to cover other countries. In Thailand, the Google map application is currently available and major cities such as Bangkok can be viewed in virtual street scenes. The images of real places including the details of individuals can be found which affects the right to privacy of the individual. Thus, this research aims to study the application of Thailand’s existing laws which are relevant and could be applied to protect the right to privacy of a person who is affected by Google street view. The qualitative study by content analysis is introduced with the comparison to the application of the U.S., EU, and Thai related laws. The results indicate that, the U.S. and Thai laws share similarities in a sense that privacy law relating to the collection of personal data of both jurisdictions is not united but piecemeal, consisting of various laws. In addition, the related laws have several limitations in applying them to protect the right of privacy in the case of Google street view. For instance, the U.S. constitution’s scope is limited to government action. In addition, statutes and common laws at state level have limitations, especially in regard to the protection of privacy in public places. With relation to Thai laws, this research also found limitations and problems in applying these laws to protect personal data in the case of Google street view. By contrast, the results indicated that in Europe, the “European Privacy Directive 95/46/EC” provides data protection principles which can be applied in the case of Google street view. Thus, this research proposes the amending of Thai laws in order to protect personal data from being collected without consent.


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How to Cite
Thongraweewong, K. (2017). The legal protection of personal data in the case of “Google street view”: A comparative study of US, EU, and Thai laws. Social Science Asia, 3(1), 41-52. Retrieved from
Research Article