• Germany's news in English

Politicians plan Google Street View privacy law

DDP/The Local · 12 Aug 2010, 08:43

Published: 12 Aug 2010 08:43 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The US firm said this week it would launch Street View in 20 German cities by the end of 2010 - reigniting an intense debate about online privacy and sparking some politicians to express concerns that publishing images of people’s homes could be a security risk and even aid burglars.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition stepped up pressure on Google on Thursday despite the company’s insistence that it would allow anyone to opt out of having their home shown on the program.

“After the summer break a general law must be created,” spokesperson for consumer protection issues for the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) Peter Bleser told daily Handelsblatt. “The right to informal self-determination must be protected.”

Parliamentarian Erik Schweickert, a member of the CDU’s junior coalition partners the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), also said that Germany needed a clear-cut legal definition on the issue. After the parliamentary break the coalition plans to present a law proposal, he said.

Meanwhile politicians across party lines said they would opt out of having their homes on Street View.

Parliamentary whip for the environmentalist Greens Volker Beck told daily Frankfurter Rundschau that it was unclear what other data could be tied to the images.

The German government made a mistake in 2008 when it failed to create laws to regulate the program, he said, adding that international laws were also necessary.

“Should Google store the data at its headquarters in the USA, it would be difficult to get them deleted later,” he said.

Federal Consumer Affairs Minister Ilse Aigner has already registered a protest with Google, her spokesperson told the paper. Aigner has also called for German citizens to do the same if they don’t want their homes featured on Street View.

Green party co-leader Claudia Roth said it was the “job of the state to provide data protection,” adding that private citizens should not have to comb through the internet to fight for their privacy.

Parliamentary whip for the centre-left Social Democrats Thomas Oppermann said he also planned to take Google up on its offer to opt out of having his home on Street View.

Story continues below…

“The Germans must be in a position to decide on their own whether their homes, apartments, gardens or cars should be made public,” he told the paper.

Google has plans to launch Street View in Berlin, Bielefeld, Bochum, Bonn, Bremen, Dortmund, Dresden, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Hannover, Köln, Leipzig, Mannheim, München, Nürnberg, Stuttgart and Wuppertal.

The program offers street-level pictures of the facades of residences and businesses, allowing users to take a virtual walk through a city without actually being there. The sequential images are taken by cameras mounted on cars that drive around the city.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:24 August 12, 2010 by freechoice
can google street view help to identify potential tax evaders?

hey you got a nice mansion there!! did you pay your taxes recently?
Today's headlines
Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Eurowings braces as cabin crew union proclaims strike
Photo: DPA

A union representing cabin crew for Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings announced that strikes could take place at any time over the next two weeks, starting on Monday.

Mysterious German U-boat wreckage found off Scotland
Photo: ScottishPower

First World War U-boat "attacked by sea monster” thought to be found off Scottish coast.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd