back to article Street View dismisses German privacy fears

Google has dismissed German privacy fears over Street View, saying it will launch the service in the country by the end of the year, AFP reports. Officials in Germany - described as "especially sensitive to the issue due to the abuse of privacy by the Nazis and Communists in the past" - have expressed concerns "that thieves …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    "It is difficult to forbid a company to do something that is legal."

    "It is difficult to forbid a company to do something that is legal."

    Clearly a sharp legal mind! That will be why the government wants to make it illegal then.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    ..and again ..

    So let me get this right. If Japan asks questions, and Switzerland does so too, Germany is suddenly trying to ban a company from doing something that is "legal"?

    The respective authorities have told Google *exactly* what it has to keep itself to and what the concerns are, and every time Google's answer is to initially declare itself somehow exempt, ditto China but that had to happen with some extra noise because it was affecting shares.

    It would be nice if Google could *start* with compliance instead of going in in evil mode first.

    1. multipharious

      Legal WHERE?

      Sovereign State and all that...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You'd think that the German government

    would at least have _heard_ of Godwin's Law

    1. seven of five Silver badge

      no, they have not.

      No one in Berlin even has heard of the usenet. Or would be able to imagine it could exist. Which actually is a good thing, considering what they are trying to do to the www - of which they heard and think it is "the internet".

      Grenade - vote from the rooftop

  4. DavCrav Silver badge

    Not difficult

    'The head of Google's German legal team, Arnd Haller, retaliated this week: "It is difficult to forbid a company to do something that is legal." '

    Well, not so difficult when you are the government and can make it illegal. Idiot.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Something Old, Something New, ...

    The head of Google's German legal team, Arnd Haller, retaliated this week: "It is difficult to forbid a company to do something that is legal."

    An AC on El Reg, retaliated later this week: "The BUZZ is, it is impossible to forbid a company to do something that is stupid."

  6. Mad Dave

    Jail them

    The only solution to a global brand which refuses to adhere to the laws of the nation it operates in is to jail the owners of that business.

  7. wgae
    Big Brother

    Google. In Germany. Massive headwind.

    The streetview story ran on the main news of public TV yesterday night, which is a clear sign that the German government is very concerned about streetview. It is also a topic in the major magazines, and the minstery for consumer protection has provided a template letter for every punter to remove his house from Google streetview.

    Massive headwind for Google. Which is good, very good.

    We don't want a Big Brother over here. Get lost.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother


      Vote your government out if you don't want Big Brother

  8. raving angry loony

    privacy please

    The photos of people is especially flagrant, I find. Just vaguely obscuring the face isn't enough, they should completely remove the people. It's easy enough to identify people already. How many divorces, assaults by abusive spouses, school expulsions (ie: the students in Japan caught kissing near their school), and other abusive privacy violations do we need before whacking Google with some real privacy violations?

  9. petur
    Thumb Down

    what privacy issue?

    I don't see the point, really. You just get the same view as you would if you walked there yourself. I think they will have a hard time to prove that privacy is at risk. Faces and registration numbers, yes... but just the view of the street?

    I personally love streetview. Going somewhere on a trip is so much more efficient, you already know how the area looks and you don't have to start searching when you arrive.

    1. multipharious

      When does it stop?

      The EU has already gone up against Google for tracking queries, and won. Unfortunately there is a laissez-faire attitude towards this sort of thing in the States despite the fact that there are what I would consider guidelines for privacy laid out in the US Bill of Rights and subsequent Ammendments. US Court rulings have not been in favor of the individuals' rights, and there are no laws that I am aware of that even suggest a "right" to privacy. Even criminal voyeurism in the States is not cut and dry, and if you are in the workplace you are a slave as far as surveillance of your activity and the lack of ownership of your intellectual property is concerned (see 13th Ammendment.)

      Opt out is considered adequate? By whom? Google? That is the fox guarding the henhouse. Google does not give a sh!t about intellectual property. They scan in books without consent of the authors then go "Ooops! Sorry!" when authors complain. That is plagarism. I guess we could list their constant abuse of the public trust for their own profit, but until someone says "enough!" or draws the line it will keep going. How far!? Well the Germans are saying how far, and they have a right to do so and good experience with where "totale Überwachung" leads. When my countrymen in the US and those elsewhere actually stand up for themselves and say enough is enough it will be too late...and the problem is most don't even care.

    2. Noons


      Have you ever seen a film where blackmail is part of the plot? And what do the baddies / goddies (almost) always use? Incriminating photos. Yet, the photos don't show anything that you couldn't see "if you walked there yourself", as you say. But they register that moment in time, and can be used as evidence for all sorts of nasty ends. For a passer-by, most events happening around them are more or less meaningless, but for someone with an agenda, however innocent or twisted, streetview is there, always available, anywhere, all the time.

      Let me put it another way: if I decide to go for a bit of skinny-dipping, I don't mind too much if one or two passers-by have a glance at me in my birth suit. I'd get a bit more irritated if they glared at me, and much more so if they started taking photos. I'd be positively pissed off if streetview came along and I ended up arrested for public indecency. Yet, you don't seem to appreciate the difference between a casual glance at my nakedness, and my shiny behind going up on the intertubes. In your words, "You just get the same view as you would if you walked there yourself."

      Think about it again.

    3. Oz

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits - Why? I'm replying to a post!

      "You just get the same view as you would if you walked there yourself."

      But clearly you don't. The cameras are mounted on a pole on the top of cars - 9 to 10 foot up. a 6 foot fence is normally good enough to provide some privacy, but not where these cameras are concerned. Think about it - most people would think about calling the police if they found someone on a stepladder taking pictures over a garden fence. I know I would. Why is Google special?

  10. Geoff Mackenzie

    Er ...

    ... anything you're "trying to ban" starts out legal.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Lol, Aigner...

    If she really were interested in privacy protection, she'd bloody well advocate against her

    own government...

    - data retention

    - biometric passes

    - web blocks

    - IMSI

    - Stasi 2.0

    - many things more

    Street View is absolutely harmless compared to the massive privacy breaches the German Government themselves do / plan on a daily basis.

    I don't necessarily trust Google, but I rather trust them than the German government (or any other government so far).

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