According to This is Derbyshire, Conservative MP Heather Wheeler wants police to be able to access raw Streetview footage without needing a court order because proper checks on what the police are up to are “a waste of public money”. This is despite the fact that the UK already tops the Google snoopers chart when measured as a number of requests per person in the country.
South Derbyshire MP Heather Wheeler said: “I am disappointed that Google’s initial reaction is to refuse. It would be sensible for them to enter into a protocol with British police forces to receive and acquiesce to police requests. Of course, the police can get a court order but what a waste of public money in order to do that.”
The police do not have the right to just randomly go digging around and there are checks in place to stop this. Requiring a court order is one of those checks and if they can convince a court that they genuinely need the unblurred image – which should be easy based on the facts given – then everything is working exactly as it should. (It’s entirely possible that the image was not actually taken around the time of the theft, in which case the correct response of the court should be to refuse the request)
I would actually hope on general principle that Google do not routinely keep original unblurred images. Personally, when I received a police or similar request, my response is always the same: “Get a court order, (Or RIPA notice) then we’ll look to see what we have”.