back to article Deadline for Germans to hide from Street View

Germany privacy watchdogs have carped at Google’s plan to give property owners in the country a four-week deadline to prevent the web kingpin’s Street View mapping tool from displaying their homes online. The company said yesterday that it would send in its spy mobiles to 20 German cities, including Munich, Berlin and Hamburg …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Glass houses?

    "use a web-based tool that will allow them to make their buildings invisible on Street View"

    allowing the contents to remain visible? wow! Possibly not the outcome they wanted?

  2. ratfox Silver badge

    Do Germans really care that much?

    I guess we are going to see... My hunch is that apart from a few vocal people, Germans give F... all, like the rest of the world.

    Of course, the opposition already has an excuse ready: They all happened to be on holiday for the same exact month they were supposed to register.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if you move house?

    So you've only got four weeks to get your house blacked out. And then next year you move into a house that is on Streetview. How do you get that one blacked out.

    Do no evil. But only for certain value of "evil".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the authorities should require opt-outs before cars roll

    Then it's Google's responsibility not to take pictures of the houses who've opted out.

    that'll fox them...

    1. Gaz Jay
      Thumb Up

      Even better..

      Google should have asked people to "Opt In". That would have foxed them even more

  5. SteveK

    In the future?

    That's fine for now, but what if future occupants of their house do (or don't) want to be visible? Or (more viable) will Google take photos anyway and simply filter at the 'making accessible' end? In which case, there's not really any need for a cutoff time.

    And how far away will it take effect... only outside your house, or further down the street where you can still see your house as the house next door has requested to be visible? Or from the next street over where you can see the back of the house.

    The whole thing does seem a bit unworkable...


  6. Crazy Operations Guy

    Oh great, now the know where you live

    So you have to send your name and address to Google? And on top of that the will also know your IP address. That is a major privacy fail if I ever saw one.

    So now they will know the identities of all of their detractors, how convenient for them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      How many people have static IP addresses to worry about?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Address Accuracy

    Given the rather loose correspondence of street addresses and Google Street view, how would they make this work? You opt out and three of your neighbours get blurred?

    And... shouldn't it be opt-IN?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Seems to work

      One of my neighbours asked to be taken out (poor choice of words?) and their house and the house opposite have gone. I think it works like that because they take out the photographs taken right outside the address concerned so you lose 360 degrees of photographs.

      As for opt in, you might consider that to be the right way but very few things are. The phone book, for example is opt out.

      1. Darth_RayDar

        6 Degrees of 360 Degrees

        Removing the image of the address opposite means your address doesn't show up reflected in their windows. But what if a neighbour down the street has bay windows? Or curved glass? Or a station wagon parked at an angle? Will they remove those images too?

  8. Seamless

    Unworkable scheme

    As suggested by other readers, what happens when people move in after the deadline?

    And how does somebody remove blurring at an address, after the deadline (e.g., a new family moves in).

    For a rental situation: is it decided by the property owner/management, or resident?

    As to families, who at that address controls blurring? Can a parent (even within the limited decision period) overrule a child's previous decision (including adult child living at home)? How about a shared-custody parent with respect to the often changing place where a child lives but both parents do not?

    For multiple unit buildings, is it the common area owner (real estate trust? management company? owners association?), or individual unit owner or occupant who decides? Will Google selectively blur some but not other units at the same building address?

    Can an incarcerated resident make a decision?

    Or students in residence halls?

    A person who later moves to a new home pursuant to an identity protection program? Or simply trying to evade a stalker (with or without benefit of court order)?

    Can somebody invoke on behalf of another (e.g., 1060 West Addison Street, Chicago, IL) without being court-appointed? How does Google verify that the person claiming to live at that address is truthful? (Are they cross-checking property ownership or tax records? Other public records such as voting registration? Vehicle registration?)

    Does it apply to actual addresses, or rather what Google uses as the "approximate" address it displays? Satellite/drone views as well?

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  10. dssf

    Data Bubbles

    Google will have to learn the hard way to shoot houses individually, and digitally "en-bubble" them so that individials (tennants, renters, etc, not JUST the property owners) can ask to be removed. Unfortunately, everytime someone moves and has to provide verification of occupancy status, that will end up in ANOTHER of Google's databases...

    As to the "data bubbles", the stuff could work like 3D CAD software. A sphere or cone or cylineder encloses the home. Adjacent homes with reflectivity that could reveal a home could be calculated and digitally removed.

    However, how realistic a form of protection IS this? A home in public view really cannot enjoy a privilege of being masked from an online site. But, tying that home with residents SHOULD be an ongling, living option of each and every occupant, especially since everthing we do leaves some kind of trail. Anyone under police or court or other protection schemes cannot be coerced by some profit-driven entity into living in the open when the State offers or is required to protect individuals and families. People in witness protection programs could (rarely) be outed. If defendants say and prove that Google helped them, how would Google limit it's responsibility for damages claims?

    But, a bigger question. Aside from state-state spying, why should a mapping or cartographic copmany or a social networking entity or emailing company be allowed to do wholesale quasi spying/geo-location activities and monetize it? Is Google paying off each country? Only a handful of years ago, this would have been ESPIONAGE, and even a corporations personnel from photographer all the way up to CEO could be ordered to appear and face charges, no?

  11. Anonymous Coward


    I'd like to be able to opt-out of people being able to see my house as they walk down my street. Can someone tell me how to do that please?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You obviously need to blur your house. Why not build a big bubble wrap tent around it?

      Or you could put hot water pipes around your property, the heat haze may be enough to blue the view?

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