Mon, Aug. 16, 2010

Legalistic Hysteria Greets Street View

CK - Washington.Google Street View is a simple tool but in Germany, it provides continued, rich summer entertainment. Negative comments from politicians triggered a timid reaction from Google. It suspended the introduction of the service, beefed up on PR and arranged with politicians, data protection agencies and others technical solutions.

Google promises to respond to objections from property owners, municipalities and residents who prefer to remain unviewed or incognito. It will render faces and car tags unrecognizable, similar to how it used to display the Cheney compound on Massachusetts Avenue on its Google Maps service.

Many German lawyers offer assistance to individuals who fear an invasion of privacy or ridicule from neighbors for having had an unkempt lawn the day Google drove down their street. Others organize community opposition. Somber legal analyses clearing Google of violations of the law like Google Street View: Eingriff in Persönlichkeitsrechte und Datenschutz oder unbedenklicher Service? abound yet fail to calm the hysteria.

The second house of the federal legislature. Bundesrat, seeks to have the government and the principal legislative body, Bundestag, pass an anti-Google statute. The planned amendment would address Street View in the federal data protection statute.

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