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BBC World Service

Germans vocal about timing of Google street view opt-out

Tristana Moore Aug 12, 2010
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BBC World Service

Germans vocal about timing of Google street view opt-out

Tristana Moore Aug 12, 2010
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TEXT OF STORY

Bob Moon: Meantime, more privacy concerns are being raised about Google and its street view mapping service. By the end of the year, 20 German cities will have photos of their neighborhoods posted on Google, in the face of vocal protests. The search giant is offering a solution, but as the BBC’s Tristana Moore reports from Berlin, critics are questioning the timing.


Tristana Moore: Google says property owners and renters can apply online to have pictures of their homes blocked out and made unrecognizable. The Internet giant has imposed a four-week deadline, and data protection officials have accused Google of announcing the plans unexpectedly, claiming many Germans are on holiday over the summer and won’t have time to use the online tool.

But Google says it will implement all written requests, and says the opt-out has been in place since last year. With Germany’s Nazi legacy, the country has very strict privacy laws, and Germans are wary of what they regard as an intrusion into their private lives. Chris Watson is at the law firm CMS Cameron Mckenna:

Chris Watson: You don’t know which part of the day what is going to be seen, how long it’s going to stay on there for. And, you know, you can be doing something perfectly innocent but looking slightly odd which has been captured on film, and people get very embarrassed about that.

The privacy commissioner in Hamburg also has concerns over how Google will deal with the data once it’s captured and how it will be stored.

In Berlin, I’m the BBC’s Tristana Moore for Marketplace.

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