Feeds

Street View threatens to throw Eurostrop

Spymobiles to exit EU?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A senior Google exec yesteday suggested that if the company doesn't get its way over Street View data retention, it may stop prowling the European Union's highways and byways.

Speaking to Bloomberg at CeBIT, where Street View has been charming Germans with a fleet of touchy-feely spymobiles, Google Earth founder Michael Jones bemoaned the EU's insistence that original, unblurred Street View images be stored for just six months, rather than 12.

Google has always maintained it needs to keep the pics on file to enable it to respond to privacy-related complaints from the the unwashed masses. However, the head of EU data protection agencies recently described a year as "disproportionate".

Alex Turk also demanded that Google "should always give advance notice on its website and in the local or national press before it takes pictures".

If the EU gets its way, Jones said, then Google "would consider whether we want to drive through Europe again, because it would make the expense so draining".

Jones insisted that the Great Satan of Mountain View can't cut storage times because it "can’t reprocess its data quicker because of software restraints".

He added: “I think that privacy is more important than technology but for privacy people it is only about privacy but for us it is also about technology. We have to be actually able to do what they want us to do. What we want is to have enough time.”

Quite what Google's threat would mean in practice is unclear. Presumably it wouldn't axe Street View across the EU, but rather simply not update or extend the service.

Street View isn't throwing in the towel just yet, though. Regarding Germany, where it has met a certain amount of resistance, Jones said: “I’m not going to quit on Germany. Privacy laws are respected and we give them a great deal of consideration, but I hope we will find a positive way to include Germany and the people of Germany.”

Concessions to the good burghers of Germany include the usual face and numberplate blurring, and a novel pre-launch opt-out service for citizens, which will enable them to request the removal of their property before the service goes live later this year.

Jones hinted at a reason why Google is pandering to the privacy-sensitive Germans, when it usually shoots first and arm-wrestles later: the country is the "number one user of Google Maps in Europe", he noted. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.