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Microsoft offers opt-out for ‘Streetside’ online map service

The Local · 9 Jun 2011, 12:23

Published: 09 Jun 2011 12:23 GMT+02:00

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“We are prepared to work with data protection officials,” said Ralph Haupter, the head of Microsoft in Germany, on Thursday. “We want to take the concerns seriously.”

Microsoft in May started filming the largest cities in Germany for its “Streetside” service, which is similar to the “Street View” offering of internet firm Google. Both show detailed street-level pictures for online maps.

Google last year ran into stiff resistance in Germany from both privacy advocates and data protection officials after launching “Street View” and was forced to blur out people’s residences if they withheld consent. Over 200,000 Germans decided to opt out.

After the often strident public debate sparked by Google’s service, Microsoft consciously chose to postpone the start of “Streetside” in Germany.

“We already waited twelve months, because we wanted to do a better job of taking the interests of consumers and data protection officials seriously,” said Haupter.

Story continues below…

In addition to blurring residences prior to launching its service, Microsoft will allow Germans to lodge their objections after the panorama pictures have been put online as well.

The Local/DPA/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:50 June 9, 2011 by XFYRCHIEF
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA..."Privacy issues: - here you go again! The German press runs articles revealing secret meetings, but showing a photo of you house is a major concern over privacy. What hypocrisy!
15:39 June 9, 2011 by catjones
this will make the anonymous nut in my building happy. anyone know how long the blur is in effect?
11:13 June 13, 2011 by wood artist
I find this so funny. A few weeks ago I was in Berlin and happened to be looking at a building across from the Märkisches Museum. Later I needed something I forgot about the Museum and pulled up StreetView. The building across the street is blurred. Just to make certain, I went back the next day to look: the building is a huge block of flats, seven stories of identical windows in columns and rows. What exactly is somebody supposed to see? What privacy issue can there possibly be? Dumb!
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