Germany to monitor Street View

2010-08-11 23:00

Berlin - The German government said it will scrutinise Google's promise to respect privacy requests by letting people opt out of its Street View mapping system and that it would be ready to intervene if necessary.

In a country wary of surveillance due to the Nazis' Gestapo and East Germany's Stasi secret police, the response to Street View has been overwhelmingly negative even though Germans got assurances they can have images of their homes kept out.

Google's announcement that it would allow Germans to stay out of Street View failed to allay fears that privacy would be compromised by the navigation system.

"We'll take a very close look at how effectively this works in practice and we'll see from there," a spokesperson for Consumer Minister Ilse Aigner told a government news conference.

Google has come under fire for the short time period provided to register their objections by September 15.

"This four-week deadline is not right," said Ulrich Ropertz, spokesperson for the DMB German association of tenants. "It's like you're stuck forever if you don't object right away."

More than 10 000 Germans have already formally requested their homes be deleted from Street View. Criticism from civil rights watchdogs will likely push that figure higher.

Tantamount to spying?

"The Stasi would be green with envy if they could have collected this kind of data," wrote the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. "What in the past was called 'state snooping' is now called 'Google View'."

Government officials said tenants will be able to keep their dwellings out of the panoramic street-level still photographs taken from Google vehicles with cameras rising about 3m high.

The government may also join the ranks of those requesting some buildings, such as military installations, be left out of Street View, government spokesperson Christoph Steegmans said.

"Each minister can decide what to do," he said.

Google plans to add Germany's 20 largest cities to Street View by the end of 2010, joining 23 countries already included. Google said human faces and license plates would be blurred.

Alarmed by plans

Johannes Caspar, data protection commissioner in Hamburg, said he was alarmed by the plans by the world's No 1 search engine, which calls Google Street View a helpful tool.

"I've got my doubts whether Google is really interested in a simple and user-friendly way for people to register their objections," Caspar told daily Die Welt. "They're not, for instance, going to set up a telephone hotline for questions."

Launched in 2007, Street View allows users to see street scenes on Google Maps and take virtual "walks" on computers.

Critics say the tool invites abuse. They argue thieves can search for targets, security firms could use the data for sales pitches, job seekers might find their homes scrutinised by employers, and banks could inspect the homes of loan applicants.

Google ran into trouble in Germany in May after authorities found out that Street View vehicles were collecting private data sent over unencrypted WiFi networks. Google called it a mistake.

Read more on:    google  |  germany  |  online privacy
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.