| GEO World|
Germany to keep close eye on Google "Street View"
| Updated at: 0413 PST, Thursday, August 12, 2010|
BERLIN: The German government said on Wednesday it will scrutinize Google's promise to respect privacy requests by letting people opt out of its "Street View" mapping system and that it would be ready to intervene if necessary.
In a country wary of surveillance due to the Nazis' Gestapo and East Germany's Stasi secret police, the response to Street View has been overwhelmingly negative even though Germans got assurances they can have images of their homes kept out.
Google's announcement on Tuesday that it would allow Germans to stay out of Street View failed to allay fears that privacy would be compromised by the navigation system.
"We'll take a very close look at how effectively this works in practice and we'll see from there," a spokeswoman for Consumer Minister Ilse Aigner told a government news conference.
Google has come under fire for the short time period provided to register their objections -- by September 15.
"This four-week deadline is not right," said Ulrich Ropertz, spokesman for the DMB German association of tenants. "It's like you're stuck forever if you don't object right away."
More than 10,000 Germans have already formally requested their homes be deleted from Street View. Criticism from civil rights watchdogs will likely push that figure higher.