Microsoft is committed to safeguarding individual privacy and security.
So as not to interfere with the privacy of individuals, we've developed industry-leading image processing software that automatically blurs faces and vehicle number plates. In addition, anyone may flag any image they feel is inappropriate or sensitive for review and possible removal. Microsoft specialists review every request and act quickly to remove objectionable imagery.
Discover the Details.
- What is Streetside?
Street level imagery (a/k/a Streetside) enables users to experience Bing Maps from street level. Streetside supplements maps, directions and local search. Imagery is collected using a 360 degree camera mounted on an automobile.
- Where can I see Streetside?
Streetside is available on the Bing Maps website at http://www.bing.com/maps/ and in the maps app on Windows 10. Click the Streetside icon from any map view and you can see where Microsoft has Streetside imagery.
- What technology will you use to collect street level pictures?
The sensor system mounted on the car provide the ability to capture a 360 degree picture and support the collection of street level imagery and 3D information. It includes 3 main components:
- Positioning sensors (an integrated GPS/IMU unit) which ensure all data collected is accurately georeferenced;
- Panoramic cameras which provide the ability to capture street level imagery in a 360° field of view;
- Rotating laser scanners which collects over a million data points every second to help create things like 3D representations of the environment.
- What measures will Microsoft take to ensure street level imagery doesn’t violate the privacy of individuals?
As with all Microsoft technology, street level imagery and Bing Maps were designed with security and privacy concerns in mind. Specifically, we use automated software and advanced algorithms to detect and blur faces and license plates to protect individual privacy. This automated software and advanced algorithms were based on years of Microsoft Research investments in computer vision techniques. We also accept requests to blur or remove images of faces or persons, homes, cars, acts of violence, nudity and unlawful material. We review every request. Depending on the content of the imagery we may remove it entirely, blur a portion of it or take no action.
- What and how do you blur images?
We use industry-leading automated software and advanced algorithms to detect and blur faces and license plates. The automated software and advance algorithms are based on years of Microsoft Research investments in computer vision techniques.
- How accurate is the blurring?
Our internal tests have shown that our privacy algorithms and detection rate are consistent with the success rate in the industry. As with all automated approaches, there is a chance that some images may come through that should have been blurred. In those instances, we allow people to identify and report to us any published images that may be of concern to them.
- What take-down requests will you honor?
We accept requests to blur or remove images of faces or persons, homes, cars, acts of violence, nudity and unlawful material. Users can file a request through while viewing Streetside imagery via a simple web form. We review every request. Depending on the content of the imagery we may remove it entirely, blur a portion of it or take no action.
Microsoft has an online concern tool available to users to request to have imagery issues evaluated. The automated process to report an image concern is as follows:
From the Bing Maps website (www.bing.com/maps/):
- Navigate to the Streetside view in question.
- Click “Report a privacy concern with this image” text in the lower left corner.
- Follow the online instructions to report the privacy concern.
From the Windows 10 maps app:
- Navigate to the street-level view in question by turning on Streetside from the map view dialog and then clicking on a specific map location.
- Click "Report a problem" link in the lower right corner.
- Follow the instructions on "Report an image concern to Microsoft" form to enter the necessary information.
- How long will it take to respond to a request to remove or blur an image?
Depending on the nature of the reported image, the reaction time may vary. If Microsoft elects to remove an image, removal occurs within 30-60 days of receiving the report.
- Can home and business owners request that images of their home or business be removed?
We accept requests to blur or remove images of faces or persons, homes, cars, acts of violence, nudity and unlawful material. These requests will be determined on a case-by-case basis.