Data privacy in Germany: German privacy attitudes were not designed for a digital age

If in doubt, call a summit. On September 20th Thomas de Maizière, Germany’s interior minister, invited politicians, regulators and tech-company representatives to Berlin to discuss “geo-data services” — online technologies that identify the real-world location of individuals and their property. The meeting was an attempt to defuse a row that has rumbled since August, when Google announced it would launch its Street View service, an online mapping system that knits together photographs of streets and buildings, in Germany’s 20 largest cities by the end of the year.Such was the scale of the outcry in this privacy-conscious country that Google granted a unique concession, allowing homeowners to request that images of their property be pixelated (the company automatically does this to the faces of individuals). Yet this wasn’t enough for some privacy advocates, who sought a blanket “opt-in” rule, meaning that Google would have to seek explicit permission from residents before publishing images of their property.

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