Last week, Google announced that it will launch StreetView for Germany this year. At the same time, they said to publish a new tool for objections against having your house or flat or the one you are living in right now (yes, many houses and flats are just rented in Germany) shown there.
An interesting debate. And it’s very exhaustive at the same time for me, personally. There is no easy yes or no to a service such as Street View. The company made so many mistakes with the whole concept in a German view, that it can not just ignore it. Now it’s a heated political debate and I think I’m not exaggerating when thinking that if companies like G don’t become more professional they are running into serious trouble soon. The moment for the announcement, during summer holiday season, with many unclear half-statements and the german speaker staff unable or maybe just not allowed to answer many questions raised, unable to react even to the most obvious bullshit statements (including such as tv stars talking about street view as a live video service. no, it’s not tv to be blamed here.) the company failed miserably on making this debate a debate on data protection, publicness and other main questions. Looks as if there is not mainly a kind of gap between privacy culture but mainly a difference in those available and those in command.
Now the debate in Germany started to turn away a bit from Street View itself and more to the general approach and views on data protection, privacy and publicness in the digital world. Without big G, for now. It’s disturbing, if a CEO of a huge IT companyis talking quark (curd cheese) such as ‘young adults should change their name when turning 18′, if a company known for it’s software is failing to test their tools compatibility with IE8, if they lack the transparency they claim to promote elsewhere. They still rely on their old model of ‘if I run my service in the US, I’m out of trouble’. No, you are going to run into serious trouble in the long run instead. And maybe it’s better you learn quickly that being huge and potentially influential does not equal to being grown up.
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