Would it be legal to collect images from Google and Bing and then use them within non-commercial research. These images would never be redistributed and during the research be converted into data that cannot be reversed engineered into the old image. (or any image of sorts)
It looks like copyright infringement, unless you can defend your use as fair use. But you would have to defend such usage in court, therefore you should hire an attorney specializing in copyright litigation to get a more detailed analysis. The nuisance value of getting sued might dissuade you; but who would sue you? Probably the photographer(s) / artists: it's not clear what Google and Bing have to do with this. On the one hand, you aren't just copying a little bit of the protected work, you're taking the whole thing. On the other hand, the nature of your use (non-commercial research) is in favor of fair use, idem effect on market and the "transformative" nature of your work.