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EARTH OBSERVATION
Don't put us on the Google map, says German village

by Staff Writers
Berlin (AFP) Nov 3, 2010
A day after a small town became the first in Germany to welcome Google's controversial Street View service with open arms and cake, a tiny northern village responded Wednesday with a resounding "nein."

The hamlet of Parum, population 70, has got together to sign a petition addressed to Federal Data Protection Officer Peter Schaar to get the village wiped off the Street View map, due to be rolled out by the end of the year.

If this does not work, all 25 households intend to apply individually to Google to have their houses pixellated, a special concession the US Internet giant made in Germany, sensitive to privacy issues for historical reasons.

"Parum is a no-Google village," retired teacher Wilhelm Meier, who lives in the tiny farming community, told AFP.

Street View, which allows users to "walk" through towns and cities using photos taken by specially equipped vehicles, is already online in around 20 countries but ran into fevered opposition in Germany.

As a special concession to these concerns, Google allowed people to "opt out" of the service, promising to pixelate their house. The firm announced on October 21 that nearly a quarter of a million Germans had done this.

Although Germans are avid users of Street View images from other countries, the planned roll-out here caused alarm in a country especially sensitive to privacy concerns due to the gross abuses under the Nazi and communist regimes.

On Tuesday, Google launched its disputed Street View service in the small town of Oberstaufen in Bavaria, southern Germany.

Delighted their tourist-dependent town was the first in Germany to be visible on the navigation service, the townsfolk even baked a brightly coloured cake proclaiming "Welcome Google."

Google plans to roll out the service for Germany's 20 largest cities later this year, including Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg.



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EARTH OBSERVATION
After bitter row, Google launches Street View in Germany
Berlin (AFP) Nov 2, 2010
Following months of controversy over privacy, US Internet giant Google put its first images from Germany online Tuesday as part of its Street View navigation service. Street View users were able to see the rolling hills, tree-lined streets and quaint wooden houses of the tiny town of Oberstaufen in Bavaria, south Germany. In contrast to the fevered debate leading up to the service's laun ... read more







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