According to a report in Computerworld, Google has violated German data protection and privacy rules with its new Google Maps app for the iPhone. When users install the app and agree to the terms and conditions there’s a check box that authorizes Google to collect “anonymous” user location data.
The fact that this box is an opt-out (rather than an opt-in) violates German privacy regulations, which require “informed consent” where personal data collection is involved.
The fix is obviously easy for Google: simply uncheck the box as the default.
Yet the likelihood that people will opt-in is relatively small. Accordingly, the volume of data that Google would be able to collect under an opt-in regime in places like Germany (and perhaps elsewhere in Europe) would thus be greatly reduced.