Google Starts German Street View Opt-Out Program :
Google has started allowing Germans to opt-out of the Street View service. For one month, people will able to use a dedicated page to have their house blurred when Street View Germany goes live later this year.
Google has been struggling to launch Street View in the country for quite a while and has faced more opposition that it regularly does. Regulators and several groups have complained about the privacy issues and Google has made several concessions in the country.
The latest, a first for Street View, is the possibility to 'remove' your house from the product before it goes live. Worldwide, Google is currently offering users the possibility to ask for the removal of any Street View image they may find inappropriate.
However, the images have to be on the site for people to ask for their removal. Among concerns about privacy issues and especially after the Wi-Fi fiasco, uncovered indirectly due to actions from German regulators, Google has been very cautious about any move in the country.
Still, the company decided to go ahead with plans to launch Street View in Germany this year.
Google is certainly not laking in critics in Germany at this point. There have been requests to push for stricter rules for online mapping and web privacy. Those moves have been requested by the German Cabinet, however, there are now plans for a new law on the matter, to be in place by this fall.
Surprisingly though, the Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere is reluctant to rush trough new legislation. He has invited both Google and Microsoft as well as rights groups and privacy organizations to discuss online mapping next month.
But he believes people should take a step back and think about how much of a privacy issue having their houses on Street View really is, compared to how much they're sharing online already.
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