• Germany's news in English

Quarter-million opt out of Google Street View

The Local · 21 Oct 2010, 08:32

Published: 21 Oct 2010 08:32 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Google spokesperson Kai Oberbeck confirmed the number of requests to have images of private homes or businesses removed from the internet program with daily Die Welt.

“That is less than three percent of all households,” Oberbeck told the paper. “We are very happy that some polls did not prove to be true.”

Some national surveys reportedly predicted that the number of people taking advantage of the opt-out programme could reach up to 50 percent of German households.

Google did not analyse the number of requests based on region, but all of the valid forms came from the 20 cities launching the German version of the service this year.

Each request was handled personally by one of 200 employees hired by Google especially for the scheme.

The deadline was at midnight on October 15.

Renters and owners who don’t want their buildings posted on the internet for the world to see were allowed to use normal post or an online form to register their objections. Those living outside the 20 cities launching the German version of the service can still register an objection after the deadline.

Following intense criticism from data protection advocates and politicians, Google extended the opt-out programme to eight weeks in August, pledging to blur out the details of buildings flagged by those objecting.

Street View 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.

Story continues below…

The company has already used car-mounted cameras to collect the panoramic images for the service in 23 other countries. But in Germany, resistance to Street View has been profound.

The German cities Google plans to feature on Street View by year’s end are: Berlin, Bielefeld, Bochum, Bonn, Bremen, Dortmund, Dresden, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne, Leipzig, Mannheim, München, Nürnberg, Stuttgart und Wuppertal.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:34 October 21, 2010 by majura
245,000 - or 0.298% of the population

(not 3% MadAxeMurdeerer- guess you failed basic maths huh? Even worse, how can your logic see that a couple hundred thousand be 3% when Germany has a population of just over eighty million!?!)

This number is pathetic. All that noise given to those idiots because German Politicians have learnt how to do a constipated Fox News No. 2.
10:39 October 21, 2010 by Landmine
As exprected, all talk, no action from Germans
11:23 October 21, 2010 by William Thirteen
@majura - it is actually 245,000 buildings - not people. I have no idea whether the math is correct as i do not know the number of total buildings but Google spokesperson Kai Oberbeck is the source of the quote ¦quot;That is less than three percent of all households".
11:56 October 21, 2010 by ovbg
^^ @majura, sadly in real terms it's more than 245,000 buildings.

When a person requests to have their building blocked, they also are dictating that every building and residence within the 360° of theirs is also blocked. So, imagine if a person in an apartment block in the central city requests a block. It then means that one person has made the decision for every single owner and renter in their apartment, the apartments next door and the apartments across the road.
12:17 October 21, 2010 by Landmine

You have a good point. I wonder if you have to be the owner to exclude the building? After all, one person would deny the rights of others when making the request and if he was just a renter and not the owner, who would be right?
12:50 October 21, 2010 by Simon_Kellett
ovbg> they also are dictating that every building and residence within the 360° of theirs is also blocked.

Why is that? I thought they just blurred out the building requested.
18:14 October 21, 2010 by ovbg
@Simon_Kellett, good question. Google blurs faces, but when they get a complaint over a scene they take no risks and black out the entire scene. It either appears as a black page when visit at all 360° views, or they skip the whole part out and you move forward up the street. So, year, one person in a high rise can dictate for every person not only in that building but also their neighbours and across the street. It can also be a renter and doesn't have to be an owner.

But it gets worse. Imagine if that was a shop or restaurant at street level that also gets blocked, but their competition down the road doesn't. That business could loose custom. I, myself have chosen area's for holidays, or businesses based on finding them on streetview.
23:33 October 21, 2010 by Struwel
The number (3%) refers to about 8.5 million households (living in the 20 cities), therefore, less than a quarter of the total 40 million households in Germany. And, like the article tells - "Those living outside the 20 cities launching the German version of the service can still register an objection after the deadline." - so that the number still can change in the end.

I was thinking about to opt-out but then, I do not use insecure wireless connection and also I did not want to spoil the fun for everybody, who wants to take a walk by using Goggle Street View.
00:55 October 22, 2010 by crm114
"...as mentioned ten billion times already, they're not showing anything you can't see for yourself by walking down the street..."

That's not actually true, unless you are over 2,5 M tall, a car roof mounted camera will see things that are unobservable from true street level.

Incidently, you do not need to be the owner of a property to obscure it, and the whole house is obscured, I did mine, can't wait not to be able to see anything. Ain't democracy great.
04:29 October 22, 2010 by Prufrock2010
It must be comforting to live in the 19th century.
14:11 October 22, 2010 by storymann
"The company has already used car-mounted cameras to collect the panoramic images for the service in 23 other countries. But in Germany, resistance to Street View has been profound."

Why Germany??? according to this there was very little resistance to this elsewhere

compared to here. I see no reason that this would infringe on anyones privacy,as any passer by can take a picture if they choose.
17:47 October 22, 2010 by ovbg
@ crm114, democracy eh? Did you ask all the neighbours in your apartment building, the apartmensts next door and the ones across the street if they want their buildings blocked? Did you take a democratic vote or just make the decision for everyone? What you just called democracy was in fact your own little version of dictatorshiüp. You have now blocked all the apartments in that part of the street you are in whether all those people wanted it or not.

Well done on your distorted idea on democracy
20:28 October 22, 2010 by crm114
@ ovbg

well, democracy in that german residents (unlike the rest of the world) were actually given a choice, and I exercised my options.

Why would I ask the neighbours? The decision was made by me for me, how google implement (if at all) my wishes is their decision. So why are you getting so hot under the collar about it anyway?
11:16 October 23, 2010 by lordkorner
I can hardly believe it,Potsdam is not included,the most beautiful city in Germany,and I wanted all the folks back home to see my new fence!
13:28 October 23, 2010 by Kayak
I think the exchange between crm114 and ovbg regarding "democracy" captures Germany's "profound" opposition to Google Street View perfectly.

I'm with ovbg on that one!

The over-reaction to Street View here is German naval gazing or cultural paranoia - plain and simple. To imagine scary cameras mounted on spy-poles stealing the secrets of ONLY German citizens is absurd.

I agree with Prufrock when he writes, "It must be comforting to live in the 19th century."

Uh, huh.
14:03 October 23, 2010 by crm114
for what its worth I also agree with Prufrock !
17:48 October 23, 2010 by lordkorner
How can 245.000 properties opting out be considered a profound opposition,or over reaction in a country as big and as populated as Germany,
03:02 October 24, 2010 by SilverBattleAxe
Why all the paranoia? Is Google thought to potentially be the new Schutzstaffel? Google Street images being used to spy on you and use the information for nefarious purposes? Really? All it really is is a blurry picture of your house that reveals few details. Put a tarp over your house like it was being fumigated when the cameras are scheduled to roll by if so paranoid.
13:08 October 24, 2010 by crm114
Shock - horror ! Google Street View admit harvesting email passwords.

21st century techno-apologists sleepwalk back to 1984.

Thin end of a bloody big wedge.
Today's headlines
Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder to mediate in supermarket row
Gerhard Schröder. Photo: DPA

Can Gerhard Schröder bring an end to the Kaiser's Tengelmann saga?

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
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