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Europeans Don’t Like Street View

by Tom Moccia | November 16, 2010November 16, 2010 2:00 pm PST

In the United States we take our technology very seriously, but our privacy not so much unless you are talking about financial statements. We are obsessed with checking out pictures of businesses and our homes on Google Earth and Street View. I have even had friends get mad that the satellite photos of our neighborhood were old and didn’t show their pool in the backyard.

On the other hand, Europeans seem to like their privacy a little more than we do here in the good ‘ol US of A. The citizens of two countries in particular have been giving headaches to the Mountain View, California based Google. Germans and Italians are not all that happy about the photos of their homes being so accessible to the world, nor the highly technical cars that Google has driving around neighborhoods to acquire those photos.

googlestreetview_1212782cIn Germany 2.9 percent of the population, or 244,237 households, have requested Google blur their homes off of the Street View photos when the Google service launches in a few short weeks. Last year German data protection officials objected to Google compiling pictures of German homes and Google obliged by removing faces, house numbers and license plates of individuals whom don’t want their information used in the service.  Google now allows Germans to have their homes blurred out by writing a letter to the company or filling out a form in their online portal.

In Italy, after Google spokesman Marco Pancini admitted and apologized for Google street view cars accidentally collecting residents Wi-Fi data, new rules will be implemented. Italian Privacy President Francesco Pizzetti has declared that Google street view data collection vehicles must be clearly marked and implement stickers and/or signs that inform citizens they are taking photographs for the online service.

I’m sure that this will only be the tip of the iceberg for Google in implementing Street View in more countries across the globe. You would think that Google would confer with future countries governments and implement so sort of privacy policy BEFORE the data collection begins thus eliminating some avoidable bad publicity abroad.

Would you ask Google to blur out your home if you had the ability? Do you think Google is putting too much data on the web like photos and license plate numbers?

Tom Moccia

Tom Moccia is a native of Stamford, Connecticut and moved his family west in 2000 and now calls Stockton, California home with his wife and two...