Google acts with overwhelming generosity to German privacy concerns

The people of Deutschland are going crazy talking about Google’s Street View, with the company recently announcing it is going to bring its mapping service to 20 cities in November. Privacy groups have been up in arms.

Google has now said it will double the amount of  time Germans will be able to opt out and have images of their homes deleted following privacy concerns. Now Germans will have eight weeks to make the request through a tool specifically crafted. But it doesn’t really cut the mustard if your neighbour doesn’t give two hoots and is on there anyway. It’s like taking the number off your front door – you’re still there.

Really there’s no getting away from Google’s plans to map the world, though it does say it respects the privacy of everyone. Google Europe boss Philipp Schindler told newspaper Bild that, because of the level of concern, it has gone a long way to addressing the privacy issues. 

He also said that, AP reports, “there is nothing more public than the outside of buildings,” which is kind of true but there’s a difference between walking down a street and peering into someone’s window for a while. Or, for example, sneaking in through the cat flap and stealing information – which is what Google engineers had been intentionally doing through the Street View data SNAFU. reports that even the Justice Minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger of the FDP has welcomed the deadline – and suggests that it will give Google the opportunity to regain the lost confidence.