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Aigner wants longer opt- out limit for Street View

DDP/DPA/The Local · 17 Aug 2010, 12:24

Published: 17 Aug 2010 10:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Aug 2010 12:24 GMT+02:00

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The company is giving people four weeks to register their objections before Street View launches in Germany’s 20 largest cities later this year.

But Aigner, who has been among Street View’s loudest critics in the debate over citizens’ privacy on the web, told daily Hamburger Abendblatt that options provided by Google were insufficient.

“The entire objection procedure must be more transparent,” she told the paper. “Only then can Google win back lost trust.”

Four weeks is not long enough for people to register their privacy concerns, she added, saying that eight weeks would be more appropriate.

Aigner also criticised the US firm for the way it has handled the Street View debate in Germany.

"Right now Google does not want to reveal the actual number of objections that already exist," she told the paper. “I don’t believe that is a trust-building measure.”

Furthermore, the company’s timing for the announcement to launch the site within the year – made in early August when politicians and much of the country were on holiday – had taken many citizens by surprise, Aigner said.

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. But critics in Germany are concerned that publishing images of people’s homes could be a security risk and even aid burglars.

Google automatically blurs faces and car licence plates that happen to be captured by its car-mounted cameras, but anyone who wants to ensure that buildings, people and cars in the vicinity of their home are not featured must register with the company.

Google said in a statement this week that it had developed a special opt-out tool scheduled to end September 15 just for Germans after talks with data protection authorities.

Story continues below…

The company 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 four-week time limit for registering a complaint applies to these cities only, Google said.

On Tuesday the recently opened opt-out site apparently began having problems with certain web browsers, particularly Internet Explorer, according to news magazine Der Spiegel. Users of Firefox and Chrome also reported being unable to open the link.

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DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:56 August 17, 2010 by eveningstar
your link to the opt-out is wrong: could you correct it, so those of us that value our privacy can register. thanks.
12:07 August 17, 2010 by dluckygurl8

here's the link in German:

12:17 August 17, 2010 by eveningstar
thank you!
13:09 August 17, 2010 by moistvelvet
And once you've opted out may I come past your house, take a photograph and post it as a hi-res panoramic image on Google Earth? Of course I can, thank you.
13:47 August 17, 2010 by auniquecorn

I gotta find a way to opt-out from people reading my posts, because I value my privacy too.

And I´m gonna put up barracades on my street so nobody can walk down my street and see my house.

Your privacy is inside your house, not outside in the public..
13:58 August 17, 2010 by crm114
thin end of a bloody big wedge.
03:29 August 18, 2010 by wood artist
Okay, I have to admit I'm curious. Just what is it about StreetView that people fear?

I hear comments about how burglars could use the pictures to plan. How? What is it about "your house" that would make them stop as they surf the net and say "That one!" Assuming they couldn't find that on StreetView, couldn't they just swing along a street and take their own pictures? I could. In fact, I have, and I have no interest whatsoever in breaking in.

I know that Google snapped a picture of me walking along a street in Berlin a while back. They might even have two. While I doubt I can find myself (since I don't even remember what street I was on) what would that photograph prove? How could it possibly be used? How could it be used against me?

Google didn't take any picture that anyone else couldn't take, and whatever you were doing at the time you were doing in public where anyone who happened by could see you. Likewise the front of a building can be seen every day, by anyone who happens by, and every one of them could take a picture...and the faces and license plates wouldn't be blurred out.

I'm sorry, but I fail to see either the immediate threat or the start of anything deeper. True, I didn't live through the eras of the Nazis or the Stasi, but I still struggle to find the real issue here.

10:11 August 22, 2010 by catjones
What google is doing is not illegal.
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