Google Finds Supporter in Germany on Privacy Debate

Google privacy
Google privacy

Despite an onslaught of criticism in Germany over its controversial Street View service, Google has found a sympathetic ear as the German government prepares to address the issue of data regulation and privacy this winter. Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who hosted a meeting of German officials and Internet company representatives, is seeking a middle ground between the two parties, according to a Reuters report.

German officials have expressed concern about Google's (GOOG) Street View service, as well as Facebook's privacy snafus, which have resulted in the inadvertent collection of user's private information and data.

While some German authorities are calling on regulating the collection of this data, Maiziere said Google should not anticipate a ban on recording geographic location information, according to the report.

Where Maiziere did draw a line is when it comes to Internet companies creating or publishing information about a specific person. He wants the German government to have the authority to regulate such information, as well as delete it and file damages claims if need be, the report noted.

Google plans to add nearly two dozen of Germany's metropolitan cities to its Google Street View service by the end of the year, but is allowing Germans to opt out of the program if they file their request by Oct. 15.

In the U.S., residents have similar tools available to them to remove their home from Google's database. For example, when entering an address and clicking on the word "more" in the left column of the page, users will be given an option to click on "Street View." Users can then click on the words "report a problem" on the lower corner of the page. Once that's done, they are able to click on"privacy concerns" to remove the image of their home, face, car or vehicle license plate, and click submit.

Once a home, person or car is blocked from the Street View page, search users are no longer given the option to click on the word "Street View" when calling up an address.