(AFP) – Feb 23, 2010
BERLIN — Internet giant Google said Tuesday it aimed to launch its "Street View" service in Germany by the end of the year, waving aside concerns that the technology could breach privacy laws.
"Street View", already available for cities in the United States, Japan, Australia and in some parts of Europe, allows users to view panoramic still photos at street level using specially-equipped vehicles.
The groundbreaking technology, launched in the United States in 2007, has given rise to concerns in Germany, which is especially sensitive to the issue due to the abuse of privacy by the Nazis and Communists in the past.
Officials in Germany were concerned that thieves could use pictures of private houses to gain illegal access and that photos of people were being published without their consent.
But Arnd Haller, head of Google's legal team in Germany, said: "It is difficult to forbid a company to do something that is legal."
Google has nevertheless made some concessions, allowing users to delete pictures of their property if they wish and promising to make faces unrecognisable.
The service has run into trouble in other European countries as well.
Earlier this month, police in Raahe, some 600 kilometres (370 miles) north of Helsinki, launched an investigation for suspected breach of privacy laws at the request of a man whose picture could been seen online.
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