Google Street View prompts new privacy code in Germany

Anna Soilleux

Germany’s Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière, has announced that Germany plans to strengthen its privacy laws in response to public concerns over Google Street View.  The statement was made following a meeting with Google and other companies on Monday.  Mr de Maizière said the government would introduce the new privacy code at a government information-technology summit in December. Google and other interested parties have been asked by the government to submit suggestions for self-regulation between now and the summit. 

I expect the services to commit to strong privacy rules,” said Mr. de Maizière.  Google’s statement said, “Any future legislation must make sure that in addition to the requirements of data protection, the development of innovative business opportunities and modern technology are allowed to flourish.” But added it was willing to “contribute constructive conversations” around the debate. 

Germany is not the only country where Google Street View has run into political and legal resistance.  As Datonomy recently reported, Google had the ICO over for a visit following its admission that the Street View cars had inadvertently collected “payload” data from WiFi networks. The company is also under investigation in South Korea, Australia, Italy and Spain for the possible unlawful collection of private data.  And in the Czech Republic, the Office for Personal Data Protection has halted the collection of Street View images and today released a statement claiming that the service “disproportionately invades citizen’s privacy“.

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