Google Street View Under Fire for Privacy in Germany

Google is under fire again over privacy issues in Germany after initial concerns over WiFi sniffing regarding the Google Street View team. This time, German officials are concerned that Google is only giving building owners only 4 weeks of time to opt out and have their buildings not show up on Google Street View. Google says that it will implement Street View in twenty of the largest German cities, including Munich and Berlin, and property owners will have four weeks to register to ensure their buildings do not show up online.

In a blog post, Germany Federal Commissioner of Data Protection Peter Schaar argues that “Objections should be possible at all times” and that “it should also be ensured that all complaints are dealt with before” Google rolls out Street View in Germany.

For its part, Google says that it will honor requests to obscure buildings within the four-week windows. However after the deadline, only property owners outside the 20-city areas will be able to make such requests, either in writing or using the online tool. Google did not mention how it will handle changes in property ownership–for instance, in another six months, if you buy a house from someone who did not opt out before and want to opt out now.

The twenty cities include: Berlin, Bielefeld, Bochum, Bonn, Bremen, Dortmund, Dresden, Duisburg, Dusseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne, Leipzig, Mannheim, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Wuppertal.

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