Google, Germany bury hatchet over 'Street View'

Apr 30, 2010
The camera of a Google street-view car, used to photograph whole streets, is seen at the world's biggest high-tech fair in Hanover in March 2010. Germany said Friday that Google had agreed to address thorny privacy concerns before launching its Street View navigation service in the country, ending a row between the firm and Berlin.

Germany said Friday that Google had agreed to address thorny privacy concerns before launching its Street View navigation service in the country, ending a row between the firm and Berlin.

Google "has agreed to start its new 'Street View' service only when all the objections raised by citizens have been fully taken into account," said Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner in a statement after talks.

Street View, already available for cities in the United States, Japan, Australia and some parts of Europe, allows users to view on the Web panoramic still photos at street level taken using specially equipped vehicles.

The groundbreaking technology, launched in the United States in 2007, has given rise to privacy concerns in Germany, which is especially sensitive to the issue due to abuses by the Nazis and communists in the past.

Officials were concerned that thieves could use pictures of private houses to gain illegal access and that photos of people were being published without their consent.

But before the service can go live in Germany, the firm has promised to black out properties if individuals raise concerns and also to make faces unrecognisable.

"What is private must remain private," said the minister.

A Google spokesman told AFP that the firm still intended to launch in Germany this year. "There will be no delay," he said.

German officials have also demanded that Google stop collecting information about private "WiFi" wireless Internet networks with its special cars.

responded that it was not the only firm to be doing this and that German companies were carrying out similar operations.

Explore further: LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google launches 'Street View' charm offensive

Mar 02, 2010

US Internet giant Google launched on Tuesday a charm offensive for its "Street View" navigation service, aiming to soothe the privacy doubts of a sceptical German public.

Swiss watchdog threatens to sue Google over Street View

Sep 14, 2009

Switzerland's data protection watchdog on Monday threatened to sue Google over its "Street View" facility, saying that measures taken by the American Internet giant to address privacy concerns were inadequate. ...

Germany to Google: Erase raw street-level images

May 20, 2009

(AP) -- A data protection official for Germany said Wednesday that Google had yet to meet a key request that photos gathered for its panoramic mapping service be erased after they are sent to the United States ...

Recommended for you

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

Apr 18, 2014

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

Apr 18, 2014

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

Apr 18, 2014

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

nada
1 / 5 (1) Apr 30, 2010
"privacy concerns in Germany, which is especially sensitive to the issue due to abuses by the Nazis and communists in the past."

and the U.S. has abuses by Bush and the Republicans who consider the Constitution "Just a piece of paper" -gwb 2004
SDrapak
5 / 5 (1) Apr 30, 2010
How are public streets private?
beefchop
5 / 5 (1) Apr 30, 2010
Streetview has been in Canada for some time (although the article doesn't list it), and Google agreed to block faces and license plates on cars. Seems to have gone off without a hitch.
fixer
5 / 5 (1) Apr 30, 2010
Yup, I can see my house in Australia no problem, but I can't identify anyone.
I think the Germans are still paranoid.

More news stories

Growing app industry has developers racing to keep up

Smartphone application developers say they are challenged by the glut of apps as well as the need to update their software to keep up with evolving phone technology, making creative pricing strategies essential to finding ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.