Feeds

Google Maps boss to Germans: 'We don't want to invade you'

Offers nervy burghers Street View delete tool

Mobile application security vulnerability report

The man behind Google Street View assured Germany the firm didn't want to invade as it sought to allay the country's privacy concerns today.

While Google has been driving its Street View cars around Germany for a couple of years, the service has yet to launch in the country, due to a particularly touchy Teutonic attitude to privacy.

The company brought in its chief technology advocate, Michael Jones, one of the driving forces behind Google Earth, to help soften the snoopware's image at Cebit yesterday.

The search'n'ads giant is hoping it may be able to launch this year, after adding some extra bells and whistles for the good Burghers of Berlin, Bremen and Braunschweig.

Google will offer Germans the benefits of face and license plate blurring, which are already available in other countries.

However, it is also giving people the chance to send in their addresses so that they can have their houses excluded from the service at launch, and have their dwellings deleted from the raw data. It is developing a software tool to automate the process.

The changes, which the firm has discussed with the German data protection authorities, were presented at a German language press conference today.

What appeared to be a somewhat frosty reception might have been down to the weather or The Reg's grasp of German not being what it used to be. But we didn't notice anyone applauding either, as is often the case at press gigs here.

Jones sought to allay concerns by walking the German hacks through the service. Germans can of course access Street View footage of other countries - just not their own.

Jones then assured them that "Google is not an invader of countries. We're a country."

Jones insisted that most other countries were "not worried" about possible privacy issues around Street View, but accepted that "In Germany, it's a serious issue". And in Switzerland too, he added.

He pointed out that at Google, "We're not all Germans" and the company didn't realise it would have to be so sensitive about the privacy implications of Street View

Jones said the firm was not engaged in a battle with "the privacy people".

Rather, he said, "We feel like we're in a classroom with the privacy people." He didn't say, though, who was instructing whom. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.