Feeds

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

Offers nervy burghers Street View delete tool

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.