Feeds

Germans resist Street View invasion of privacy

Delete suspect images, Google told

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Google's all-seeing Street View is attempting to convince German authorities that it should be allowed to retain "partially censored images" which Hamburg and 15 other states want purged from the search monolith's databases.

Google has been negotiating over Germany's privacy laws which "generally restrict photographs of people and property except in very public situations, such as a sporting event, without a person's consent", as IDG News Service puts it.

The company had until yesterday to agree to 12 privacy assurances, but one point remained sticky: "Partially censored images where Google has blurred items such as license plates or peoples' faces". German data protection authorities confirmed 300 compaints from citizens on the receiving end of the Orwellian black Opels, presumably without the benefit of Street View's ID-protecting algorithm.

Google claimed its blurring tech is "99 per cent accurate" - an assertion it has previously conceded is "a figure of speech" - but suggested it needed to keep the offending images on its databases "since the blurring technology is self-learning and needs more data to improve".

The authorities are unconvinced and want the images ditched.

The bottom line is that if an agreement can't be reached, Google could be fined. Johannes Caspar, head of the Hamburg area data protection agency, warned: "We should not give them the option to take these pictures if they are not willing to follow German laws."

Google said in a statement: "After positive discussions with the German Data Protection Authorities we have made good progress towards finding solutions to their concerns about Street View."

Google's claim that keeping the offending images on its servers will ultimately benefit individual privacy is a nice touch, but somewhat short of the sheer audacity displayed by Larry Page who earlier this week doomwatched that if the company isn't allowed to retain search data for more than six months, then an avian SARS pig plague ebola pandemic apocalypse will destroy all life on Earth. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
Now: The REAL APPLE NEWS you need to know
OMG! Gravity's totes amazeballs. Calm down, George Clooney, not your film
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Let's make an app that POSTS your POO to APPLE HQ
Plus: It's OPEN WARFARE in the Linux greybeard world
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
Adorkable overshare of words like photobomb in this year's dictionaries
And hipsters are finally defined as self-loathing. Sort of
Not a loyal follower of @BritishMonarchy? You missed The QUEEN*'s first Tweet
Her Maj opens 'Information Age' at the Science Museum
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.