244,000 Germans Demand Removal of Google Street View Imagery

Google yesterday announced that 244,237 out of 8,458,084 households (2.89 percent) want images of their homes to be blurred when Street View map imagery launches in Germany’s 20 biggest cities in a few weeks.

Since April 2009, residents were able to opt-out either by writing a letter to Google or using an online tool. Google said that residents can still ask for image blurring using the “report a problem” tool on Street View once imagery is published because Google said some people didn’t include precise locations in their removal request.

Last year, after data protection officials objected to Google compiling photographs of German homes, Google agreed to erase the raw footage of faces, house numbers, license plates, and individuals who didn’t want their information used in the service. German privacy law forbids dissemination of photos of people or their property without their consent.

Aside from Street View, Google has faced numerous challenges in Germany, including fights over Google Analytics and Google’s efforts to digitize books by German authors. Germany is also suing Google over copyrighted songs and videos on YouTube.

Germany has proved a big challenge for search marketers, as Michael Bonfils detailed in Part 1 and Part 2 of “Top Tips for Search Engine Marketing in Germany.”

Street View has raised privacy concerns in numerous countries, most recently making news in Spain and Canada earlier this week over wireless data collection.

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