Feeds

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

Offers nervy burghers Street View delete tool

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. ®

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
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
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?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.