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Germans resist Street View invasion of privacy

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Lester Haines
The Register
Thursday, May 21, 2009

Google’s all-seeing Street View is attempting to convince German authorities that it should be allowed to retain “partially censored images” which Hamburg and 15 other states want purged from the search monolith’s databases.

Google has been negotiating over Germany’s privacy laws which “generally restrict photographs of people and property except in very public situations, such as a sporting event, without a person’s consent”, as IDG News Service puts it.

The company had until yesterday to agree to 12 privacy assurances, but one point remained sticky: “Partially censored images where Google has blurred items such as license plates or peoples’ faces”. German data protection authorities confirmed 300 compaints from citizens on the receiving end of the Orwellian black Opels, presumably without the benefit of Street View’s ID-protecting algorithm.

Google claimed its blurring tech is “99 per cent accurate” – an assertion it has previously conceded is “a figure of speech” – but suggested it needed to keep the offending images on its databases “since the blurring technology is self-learning and needs more data to improve”.

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This article was posted: Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 3:37 am





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