Home Several Hundred Thousand Germans Opt Out of Google Street View

Several Hundred Thousand Germans Opt Out of Google Street View

According to German news magazine Der Spiegel, “several hundred thousand people” have asked Google to erase their houses from Google Streetview. While Google itself won’t comment on these numbers, Der Spiegel cites sources close to Google and notes that the consumer affairs ministry in Germany expected about 200,000 opt-out requests when the program was announced earlier this year. The deadline for opting out of Google Street View in Germany is Oct. 15.

There is clearly strong resistance against Street View in Germany – more so than in any of the other 20 countries where Google rolled out its street-level imagery for Google Maps. While Street View itself was already somewhat controversial in Germany, the fact that Google also mistakenly collected data from open WiFi networks early this year while taking pictures escalated the situation. As Reuters’ Brian Rohan notes, the debate in Germany is heavily influenced by “the memories of the role played by the Nazis’ Gestapo and the East German Stasi secret police.”

Germany’s politicians have also seized upon this public opposition and held a high-level meeting in Berlin today to discuss potential regulations for geo-location services. The result of this discussion is that the German government will take a hands-off approach until the end of the year and allow the geo-location industry to self-regulate for now.

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