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Street View error shows hidden images in Germany

updated 02:15 pm EDT, Fri November 5, 2010

Company under fire once again

Just one day after Google was found to be in violation of UK regulations for its Street View data collection methods, the company is now under fire in Germany for failing to blur images that should be hidden. The Street View feature, which just launched in Germany, was supposed to prevent users from viewing properties that owners had opted out of the program.

The system used to block the content appears to have failed, as some of the blurring was not effective when the images were viewed from an iPad or iPhone, according to a report. Street View users on desktop browsers even found a quick workaround, as properties were still clearly visible when viewed from extreme angles rather than straight on.

"We have to face the fact that Google has problems, and maybe these problems come from the fact they haven't deleted the raw material," said Johannes Caspar, the head of Hamburg's Data Protection Agency. "We will wait and see if Google will solve the problem with the blurring. If this is not done, we think Google can't go online with Street View."

Although North American residents have put up little resistance to the image collection methods, many European citizens have voiced concerns over privacy. Google is launching the service city-by-city in Germany, with the latest preview focused on the city of Oberstaufen. The company has confirmed that it received 250,000 opt-out requests by the middle of October, which should have obscured three percent of the German households in cities covered by Street View.

It remains unclear if Google will keep the German launches on schedule, despite the latest problem. The company originally intended to add 14 cities by the end of the year.

by MacNN Staff



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