In an unprecedented step, Google is letting privacy-sensitive Germans delete pictures of their homes from Google Street View. This is a limited time offer, however. Act now for maximum privacy. But only in Germany. Why?
Germans have until September 15th to opt out of Street View, TechCrunch reports, via a special Google app. Why is the internet company being so sensitive to the Germans on this issue, when it defends Street View elsewhere as taking pictures of completely public building facades? Probably because Google angered the country — and indeed much of Europe — when it revealed it had been capturing the private data flowing through wi-fi networks as it drove around in camera-studded Street View cars in Hamburg. The privacy no-no was supposedly accidental, but now Google has to be extra-nice to Germany.
But it risks opening the floodgates, as TechCrunch's Alexia Tsotsis points out. If Germans can hide their public home facades, why not allow them to hide public web pages about them that they don't like? God knows Germans do some freaky things.