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Masses opting out of Google Street View

The Local · 19 Sep 2010, 17:47

Published: 19 Sep 2010 17:47 GMT+02:00

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Ahead of an October 15 deadline, "several hundred thousand people" have told the Internet giant that they do not want their home or business to be visible on Street View, which features panoramic still photos taken at street level.

Der Spiegel cited sources close to Google, which in August said it expected tens of thousands of tenants and owners to respond to its offer, unique to Germany, to pixel out buildings before images are published.

The Consumer Affairs Ministry had expected applications for more than 200,000 addresses.

Google presented plans last month to roll out images from 20 German cities on Street View later this year. The service is already available for more than 20 countries worldwide.

But the announcement triggered an outpouring of security and privacy concerns in a country particularly sensitive to such issues due its experience with the Nazi and communist regimes.

Johannes Caspar, the top official for data protection in the northern city of Hamburg, where Google's German unit is based, said he had the impression that the company was respecting citizens' wishes.

But he told Der Spiegel he wondered whether "Google can process such a storm of applications correctly."

Story continues below…

The German government is weighing new laws on online data protection in the wake of the debate over Street View and will hold a high-level meeting on Monday in Berlin chaired by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:00 September 19, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
@hech54...you won't say that when thieves from other parts of the world rob your home after lazily trolling through Google Street View to see where the best pickings are without even leaving the comfort of their computer....
20:06 September 19, 2010 by KBCraig
The only analogy between Street View and prior oppressive governments, is that an uninformed public have been worked up by propaganda to turn against some imagined "threat".

There is no privacy issue with Google Street View. It shows what anyone driving or walking down your street could see -- and photograph, if t hey wished!

Also, the addresses aren't very accurate. Typing in my street adress will land you six houses away. Once you do find my house, the only thing personal you'll learn is whom I supported for U.S. President in 2008. And, obviously, if I had wanted that to be a secret, I wouldn't have put the candidate's signs in my yard.
21:37 September 19, 2010 by Simon_Kellett
> fierce opposition

but minor: by my calculation 200,000 is approx 0.244 percent of the Germany population !!
01:10 September 20, 2010 by sonriete
What silly people. Wo cares if a picture of your house is online, like most others in the world. If I were a German national, I'd be a lot more worried about my government paying mafias for information about any private overseas banking business I may do. Now THAT is a serious invasion of privacy.
08:51 September 20, 2010 by Kayak
As cultural events go this is a goodie. I wonder what the geek response will be both within Germany and without.

Even I can make fun of silly people by placing their secret house on my own website and I'm not a teenager with spare time on may hands.

It's so funny that the opt-out of option is "unique to Germany". The laughter will be accurately targeted. Haaa, haaa, haa, ha, ha...!!!
10:01 September 20, 2010 by moistvelvet
"have told the Internet giant that they do not want their home or business to be visible on Street View"

Business? This just about sums up the stupidity of those morons who oppose Street View, why on earth would they not want their business advertised for free on the internet? Complete idiots!

Well I'm surprised that so many have objected... actually no I'm not, anti-anything that isn't German campaigns, enforced by TheLocal on a daily basis have created a culture of fear of Street View.

I geuss I'm going to be busy patrolling the neighbouring streets, taking photogrpahs of places that people have ojbected to and then posting them on Google earth in much higher quality as a panoramic photo.
10:28 September 20, 2010 by Kayak
What if your business is a bank or jewellery store? Gosh! I bet they forgot to remove their business from the telephone book!!!

Haaa, haaa, haa, ha, ha...!!!
11:04 September 20, 2010 by moistvelvet
Ah yes the bank and the jewellery store, two businesses that rely on their inconspicuos facade to deter wannabee customers. I mean, I've even seen some Jewellers that cleverly disguise their shop with a window full of glittering diamonds and gold trinkets, but they don't fool me I know that something is going on behind those big steel doors and 2" armoured glass.
12:19 September 20, 2010 by moreanon
Why a deadline? There should be a permanent opt-out.
12:41 September 20, 2010 by Simon_Kellett
> Why a deadline? There should be a permanent opt-out.

IIRC there is a permanent opt-out: the deadline is for pre-launch opt-out (i.e. your house will *never* have appeared on Streetview). If you opt-out after the deadline then your house will have been on Streetview until that opt-out time.
13:46 September 20, 2010 by moistvelvet
Now it would be funny if by choosing to opt out it then disconnected your internet connection :D

Perhaps it could automatically stop these paranoid lost souls from accessing anything run by the evil Google empire, in fact any action would be welcome that would free up bandwith occupied by these slumbering sloths of technology advancement.
14:02 September 20, 2010 by catjones
The article never says how many opted out, just 'had expected applications for more than 200,000'

Typical tactic to raise fears.....masses, storm...all sensational, inaccurate and self-serving words.
15:01 September 20, 2010 by moistvelvet
@Bipa, LOL that is exactly what I'll do if I come across any manipulated images in SV in my town. But as Google have already proven it is perfectly legal to drive past a house and take a photograph, it is also perfectly legal for anyone to post an innocent photograph of a building on the internet, I think the law starts to become a grey area when people are involved as to permission, but otherwise tough luck to the nay sayers, SV will prevail over idiocy and flat earth supporters.
15:59 September 20, 2010 by Bushdiver
Typical German response. This country has turned into a bunch of pussies. Keep in mind that Google is not your enemy, the Finanzamt is. Generally Germans are skeptical about anything that's new. One idiot says if your house or business is on Street View you are running the risk of being robbed. The rest then follow like mice.
17:46 September 20, 2010 by DinhoPilot
Two germans walk into a bar and start discussing about Street View. One is trying to convince another that is not such a BIG privacy threat, but another geman comes and....

Hey dude! Immma let you finish... BUT Google is one the most evil companies of all time...

The logic is simple Google=American=CIA/FBI=Spy=EVIL
23:50 September 20, 2010 by Struwel

"Germany is the largest country in Europe where Google¦#39;s controversial Street View has not gone live. This is because of privacy complaints made about the service around the world." ...

Seems like paranoia does not only run in Germany but also around the world.

Perhaps that - ... "This has all come about after Google admitted ¦quot;erroneously¦quot; collecting data from unsecured wi-fi networks in over 30 countries using it¦#39;s Street View vans. Several countries including France, Germany and Australia are still investigating the affair and in the US, Google is facing a class action lawsuit backed by 38 states." - is the reason for the paranoia.

And no, using an unsecured wi-fi network does not give the right to others (it does not matter whether they are American or German or any other nationality) to collect data.
02:50 September 21, 2010 by Prufrock2010
A Stasi hangover, but ridiculous nonetheless.
02:57 September 21, 2010 by ovbg
So, one person can decide for all people living in their apartment block? Whenever I see an area blocked out on Streetview, it's the whole 360° and a few steps from either side. So that one person who wants to be blocked out, blocks out not only their apartment, all the other apartments in their building, the apartments on either side of theirs and those across the street as well.

An enormous amount of power this one paranoid person posesses.

I for one would be rather pissed off if my apartment is not inlcuded because of some one else deciding for me in my building.

I was a business at the base of that building blocked out, I would sue the person who requested it blocked for potential loss of business.
08:01 September 21, 2010 by OMFG
Hey guys, would you please calm down?!?!?

There are people who - probably due to history and maybe some education that reflects this history - simply don't want this. And most of you talk about paranoia?

Stasi has been mentioned, SS not yet but should be. What on earth is so bad about the fact that people have the OPTION?

You CAN have your house or business be visible on Street View, or you can opt out - nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.
15:33 September 21, 2010 by XFYRCHIEF
For all the paranoid people - please show us one instance where StreetView aided in a crime. For all of the millions of views, there is not a single instance where this is the case, as far as I can determine. Actually, the sattelite view provides more information for a criminal than the street view. I can see the layout of your house and yard; approaches and escape routes; places to park my vehicle; entrances and exits; skylights; etc., etc.
23:53 September 21, 2010 by ovbg
@OMFG, the reason is because their decisions affect other people. As in my other post, one person in an apartment building can make the sole decision for everyone else in that building, the building next door and the one across the street. Should we really give people with paranoia such power?

And yes, maybe they did suffer under the DDR, but is allowing them to ride along with their paranoia the right solution to their problems?
09:25 September 22, 2010 by Realsunji
It is interesting that when a giant corporation wants to do something in America people have no rights. Basically you were just steamed rolled. In Germany at least the option was given.

So for those of you laughing the actual jokes on you when they say free country but were you free to opt out if you wanted?
10:21 September 22, 2010 by DepotCat
The same concerns aired in Germany were aired in the U.K too. There was alot of scaremongering. Now everything has settled down and people don't complain about street view anymore.

Oh yeah my cat has been immortalised on street view...But the actual view is now changed...Hedge gone new brick wall built etc so it dosn't always reflect the current view. I just wish I'd cut my grass before the Google car came around :)
18:19 September 24, 2010 by Raccoons31
Many of who travel to Europe over and over again have left part of our heart and soul there.

I love bringing up Google Street View....it's the next best thing to being back there.

It's unfortunately that the Germans are so frightened of having Google Street View. If I were them, I'd be more concerned about their pretty much open immigration issues....Enjoying the views of Germany from ones computers is a whole lot different than allowing people in to build mosques and plot mayhem and tyranny against other humans.
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