It’s Called Paranoia

Why is Germany a blank spot on Google’s Street View? See above.

Paranoia

There are good historical reasons why Germans are suspicious of surveillance — but is Google as bad as Gestapo or Stasi?

It’s to do with Germans’ curious sense of privacy: they’d rather flaunt their private parts than their personal data…

While public nudity is a big no-no in the United States for example, Germany has a long tradition with what is known as FKK – short for Freikörperkultur, or “Free Body Culture.” Certain beaches and areas of city parks are dedicated to nude sunbathing, and even Nacktwanderung (“nude rambling”) is a thing.

On the other hand, Germans are extremely possessive of their personal data — and are shocked by the readiness with which Americans (and others) share their names, addresses, friends’ lists, and purchase histories online.

According to research presented in the Harvard Business Review, the average German is willing to pay as much as $184 to protect their personal health data. For the average Brit, the privacy of that information is only worth $59. For Americans and Chinese, that value declines to single-digit figures.

Google Street View Time Travel To Offer Germans Blurred Out Views Of The Past

Google Maps Street View has released a revolutionary new “time travel” feature that will allow, among other things, German users the novel opportunity to “go back in time” and see how the blurred out images of their homes in the past compare to the blurred out images of their homes in the present.

Blur

Google spokesmen regret that time travel to blurred out images of homes in the future is not yet available but will certainly be introduced as soon as googly possible.

Aus Datenschutzgründen ist die neue Funktion in Deutschland nicht abrufbar.

iPhone 4 To Fill Street View Paranoia Market Niche

Now that Google has lost interest in continuing its Street View service in Germany, a lucrative privacy paranoia market niche has opened in that country.

Although unable to meet the demand completely, Apple’s iPhone 4 has volunteered to jump into the breach until something more sinister comes along. Some users have reported that the phone, not unlike Google’s Street View, sometimes takes secret photos of them. You know, without their expressed written permission and all that?

Macht das iPhone 4 heimlich Fotos?

German Streets Not Worth The View

With German streets offering such a blurry mess wherever you look these days, and apparently tired of driving an uphill battle ever since it began taking Street View shots in Germany, Google has now decided to opt out of the German Street View service itself.

Despite winning a Berlin State Supreme Court ruling last month confirming that Street View was legal here, the company’s priorities “have simply shifted” and it will now pursue activities in Germany that do not constitute such a royal freakin’ pain in the ass.

It remains to be seen just how Google’s Street View situation will affect similar street-based mapping services in the region, including the impending “Streetside” program from Microsoft’s Bing.

Street View Egging Update

No good “anti-privacy vandals,” egging Street View opt-out homes like that.

It’s folks like this (the vandals, not them there folks up there) that give Street View a bad name in this country. Other than Google itself, I mean.

And the latest bizarre German Street View shot? How about this one: Capturing the birth of a baby on a street in a Berlin suburb, “although there are question-marks over the veracity of the incident.”

“We respect people’s right to remove their house from Street View and by no means consider this to be acceptable behaviour,” a Google spokesperson said.

“Rebound” time?

For years, Germany did little to stem the flow of its nationals to jihad training camps, believing its decision not to participate in the war in Iraq meant it was off the jihadist radar-screen.

Western intelligence officers who met with their German counterparts after 9/11 say they received lectures about the country’s determination not to sacrifice civil liberties in the fight against terror.

The key members of the jihad cell now thought to be plotting attacks on Germany were recruited from a Hamburg mosque were 9/11 hijacker Mohammad Atta used to pray. The mosque was closed down after the 9/11 attacks, but then allowed to reopen (until they closed it down for good waaay later-blogger’s note).

That decision was an error.”

———-

But now for something completly different–the latest episode in the ongoing German Street View Saga: German Google fans are now throwing eggs at the pixelated homes (the real ones) of Germans who had decided to opt out of Street View. Never a dull moment around here I tell ya.

Street View way cool after all

Now that Google’s Street View is up and running in Germany, many of the very Germans so entsetzt (horrified) at the Datenkrake (data octopus) invading their privacy in the first place finally get to see how way cool this service really is and are now horrified that their homes have been pixelated without their permission–although this naked guy down here in his trunk in Mannheim was obviously thrilled with the Street View concept right from the start and wasn’t pixelated one tiny little bit, though he maybe shoulda outta been.

Many of these horrified Germans have now asked to have their pixelated homes unpixelated again ASAP but unfortunately this is now no longer possible, says Google, as one of the conditions for introducing Street View to Germany in the first place, as demanded by Germany’s horrified data security officials, was the immediate destruction of all photographic raw material once the data has been entered into the Street View database.

Lots of German real estate and tourism companies are upset about this unfortunate pixelization process too, by the way.

But hey,  you can’t displease all of the people all of the time, I guess.

“In keinem der 26 anderen Street-View-Länder gab es am ersten Tag einen solchen Zulauf wie in Deutschland., gab Google bekannt.”

Street View II

Or 2.0? The saga continues. Pack your canned goods and potable water, Germany. Street View is coming doch (after all).

But this time you don’t have to worry about lack of privacy and criminal abuse and all that stuff. This time it’s going to be a German kinda Street View thang.

Not only will the faces of individuals and license plates and street addresses be blurred out, German Street View is going to blurr out the houses and the streets, entire neighborhoods, cities, mountains, lakes and streams and other prominent geographical landmarks including some of our planet’s smaller oceans too – but they were kind of blurry to begin with anyway, so there.

People can also ask to have images of their homes removed from the database starting next week – a move aimed at dispelling privacy fears.

No scary Google-mobiles here, please

Despite a recent high-level compromise, the German Street View saga continues.

A new report, and there’s always a new report if you want one, confirms that Google’s Street View is pretty much pure evil and they (whoever they are) have to be stopped at all costs. Stay tuned.

Die Auflagen, für die sich Rechtsprofessor Thomas Dreier und Professorin Indra Spiecker stark machen, gehen teils weit über die bestehenden Absprachen zwischen Google Deutschland und der zuständigen Datenschutzaufsichtsbehörde in Hamburg hinaus.

Germans? Hysterical about Google’s Street-View?

How you figure?

That German companies like the map manufacturer Tele Atlas or the small business Panogate (sightwalk.de) in Cologne do the same damned thing that Google does – make fotos of/in cities in order to publish them in the Internet and use them for navigation systems – that doesn’t matter here. What matters here is that a particularly awful and ominous “data octopus” is doing it.

Ob Microsoft (preview.local.live.com), der Kartenhersteller Tele Atlas oder das kleine Unternehmen Panogate (sightwalk.de) aus Köln, sie alle fotografieren systematisch die Städte dieser Welt – mal aus dem Flugzeug, mal aus dem Auto. Auch sie veröffentlichen diese Bilder im Internet oder nutzen sie für Navigationssysteme. Wenn sich die öffentliche Debatte nun auf Google konzentriert, dann wohl nur, weil sich mit diffusen Vorwürfen gegen den vermeintlichen “Datenkraken” leicht Ängste schüren lassen.

It’s quite simple, really. Germans, just like everybody else, really love angst. Only they love it here so much that they acually spell it with a capital A. You know, with an A like they use for Amerika (sorry, US-Amerika, of course).

Fast hysterisch wirken hingegen die Warnungen vor dem Verlust der Privatsphäre. Was ist damit gemeint? Die Privatsphäre der Hausfront? Google und Co. fotografieren grundsätzlich nur das, was jeder Fußgänger auf einer öffentlich zugänglichen Straße sieht.