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November 18, 2010

Germany's Blurry Street View

Google has finally added street level imagery for some of the biggest cities from Germany: Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich and 16 other cities. Unfortunately, many of the images are blurred because of privacy concerns. According to Spiegel, the launch has been delayed for several years.
In contrast to other countries, the launch of Street View was met with considerable resistance from politicians and privacy protection advocates in Germany, including the country's consumer protection minister, Isle Aigner of the conservative Christian Social Union, who criticized the service as an incursion on people's privacy. (... )

As was widely expected, one doesn't have to look very far in Street View to find homes that have been blurred out. Prior to the introduction of the service, more than 244,000 households in the first 20 cities to be placed online submitted requests to have their homes blurred out. Google claims the figure represents only 3 percent of households. (...)

Nevertheless, there are considerable obstructed images in the German version of Street View. In any instance where an apartment renter asked to have their flat pixilated, Google blurred out the entire building they live in. Data protection authorities believe that up to a million households across the country have been blurred out by the company.

32 comments:

  1. this sucks! 4 of the places i lived in my live got pixelated,...and in almost every street you find pixelated houses. i hate that they pixelate once only one renter enters the adress. its unfair and there should be a way to object the blurring. the blurring should only be possible if the consent of all houseowners and renters is met.

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  2. As I German I feel this is a big shame for Germany. Privacy gone mad.

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  3. Google should have negotiated a deal to start with just a few cities first. After seeing the results I believe less people of other cities would have requested blurring.

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  4. This is really sad. I don't want to say boo to Germany but I'll say BOO to the people in Germany who doesn't understand. BOO!!!!!

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  5. I thought it was so funny...I was reading this german guys blog. He posted news article which was about soem of the people who don't want to be in streetview. The funny part was that they posed in front of their house for the new paper photo and millions more people saw them, their home than would have ever saw them on streetview.

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  6. It's also worth pointing out that the guys leading the charge against StreetView are also the same people who are routinely IN FAVOR of warantless wiretapping, extensive surveillance of citizens, and state-mandated internet censorship.

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  7. I think you should look at ALL TV footage, and blur out offending images. And Hollywood films. And while you are at it, the public should submit their photos for approval. Or better yet, residents should just cover their building with fabric. Privacy gone mad. Buildings do not have privacy rights. People do.

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  8. Anyone else noticed a new slightly tweaked Gmail logo? Look at the M, seems more rounded and shaded

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  9. Eventually they'll have drones updating the pictures constantly. Have you seen their self-driving cars? They'll probably be on the streets in 10 years, plus low Earth orbit satellites will be taking high-resolution photos more frequently. By 2030 they'll probably have 'smart dust' sensors all over the planet returning live video of anywhere at any time. I think it's good to get the privacy rules worked out sooner rather than later, but clearly the German public is erring too far on the side of conservative caution.

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  10. But they are scared about what?

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  11. Thanks for this post about Google Maps. It will be interesting to see whether "blurring" will become more of a norm during this venture.

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  12. For me as a german guy it's also really sad to see the blurred pictures of some really nice places here in germany.

    I'm really sure there were much less blurred pictures if Google has uploaded the german pictures without these pr messages and marketing news in the past. Most of the people would see their houses and i'm sure they would say: "ok cool its my house there" - they would not have the idea to blur things out

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  13. It's great, wish more people who think twice about privacy. Also, how come Google didn't offer that here in the states? :(

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  14. Boo , anything to hide ? you can run but cant hide !

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  15. I think you should look at ALL TV footage, and blur out offending images

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  16. Nice post.I am always looking for this type of updated post, How can they maintain the privacy.

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  17. How can you hide yourself when you are at the middle of crowded stadium.

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  18. man,really now I don't know what's in people's minds when it came to street view...it's just a static picture with their windows it's not like you can see all they're doing there...google's intentions are clear: to have the opportunity to reach some place from your pc. Anyway...it's decision...

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  19. I saw on the news the other day that a couple of houses in germany (that opted out) have actually been attacked with eggs etc- Local media report that homes in Essen, west Germany have been pelted with eggs and had 'Google's cool' notices pinned to their doors.

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  20. I wonder why Google is not launching live street view service.I hope one day my city also be included in Google's street view section.

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  21. Google should have negotiated a deal to start with just a few cities first. After seeing the results I believe less people of other cities would have requested blurring. it is good

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  22. It defo doesn't send out a positive message to the rest of the world with people not wanting you to see their places. It's like saying "you intruders are not welcome here..."

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  23. I wonder why Google is not launching live street view service

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  24. Its a shame, I used to live in Germany and my old apt building is blurred out! I so wanted to see what it looks like today. It was in a huge building in Nurnberg and the whole massive building is blurred out!

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  25. This is retarded. What's stopping anyone from walking down their street and taking photos of their house? >_>

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  26. Thanks for bringing this up! :)

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  27. People cannot claim privacy for something that is public in nature. You cannot claim privacy when somebody takes a picture of you drunk in a public square. For the same reason, an apartment building on a street is public information. Anybody can drive on a street and see the buildings and houses on that street. Now, who lives in those houses and apartment buildings is private information. So, unless Google is posting the street view pictures with info about who live on those buildings, then it should be public info.

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  28. Please everyone remember this country's history. It is no surprise that the government/state gave the opportunity to opt out of this after a regime where privacy was virtually a myth. It is more about retaining a liberal political reputation than the practicalities of simply blurring a building.

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  29. Unnnnnnnnnnbelievable. Everything has to be "perfect" in Germany. So schticky, shame on y'all.

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  30. If you have been coerced into accepting someone else's version of what freedom should be then perhaps yours has already been taken away from you without you having noticed it.
    I and others I know still value the freedom to determine the value of privacy and what it is, as well what it is worth to me and/or to us.

    Show my place of business but my home is nobody's business but my own. Why is it so? because I say it is and am ready to exercise my remaining freedom to assert my own freedom of privacy, as I see it, to make it so.

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  31. The previous comments have been rather one-sided. Let's see if google has any respect for descending opinions or at least enough tolerance to publish a view that does not support their corporate goals.

    If you have been coerced into accepting someone else's version of what freedom should be and how and by whom it is to be administered then perhaps yours has already been taken away from you without you having noticed it.

    I and others I know still value the freedom to determine the value of privacy and to define what it is, as well what it is worth to me and/or to us.

    Show my place of business but my home is nobody's business but my own. Why is it so? Because I say it is and am ready to exercise my remaining freedom to assert my own freedom of privacy, as I see it, to make it so.

    A lot of young people may not know that a couple of generations actually fought for the freedom of privacy for future generations. They thought they were trying to make the world a better place for future generations that would be able to think for themselves instead of being lead around in herds by lines attached to rings implanted by others' institutions in their noses.

    Now the lines are virtual and people are just letting their freedoms slide because they never had to battle to get them.

    ...just a little something to think about...

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  32. Germany sucks. Its the only important country on google maps were you can only see the major cities. You can not even look at smaller famous cities like Bamberg, Würzburg, Rothenburg, etc.. You can´t even see Karlsruhe which is already a quite important city..and that´s because germans are selfish and don´t care about anything else but themselves and having such a nice tool as google maps don´t matter. They just think fuck the rest of the world and no one is getting the chance to see my house. Maybe they should put a blankets around their houses too so pedestrians don´t get to see it either. And why the fuck there´s no google maps in Austria neither ? Google shouldn´t aloud that to happen and should only let people cover up the windows.

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