Google Ireland Greeting A Google Street View Car

Wouldn't it be cool to know when a Google Street View car was planning on taking pictures of your office or home? Most of us do not have that luxury, but if you are Google, you are privy to that information. All of Google Ireland's staff stood outside cheering, holding signs, balloons and other items while the Google Street View car passed by and took pictures today. One Googler actually took a video of it happening today and here is that video: You'd think this was President Obama visiting. Related Stories: Cool Sights In Google Street View Dead Girl On Google Street View? [...]

Google Maps Vs. Bing Maps: Summer Vacation Planning Showdown

google-bing-maps-featured Wouldn't it be great if there was one mapping service that offers everything you need to plan a trip to somewhere you've never been? Sure, map sites are generally pretty similar. You can see maps, find business listings, get driving directions, see images and stuff like that. But it's actually more complicated than that. At least it was for me. My wife and I recently visited Maui, Hawaii for the first time. We spent a week on the island celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary and, after getting advice from all of our family and friends, we had enough must-sees and must-dos to fill a [...]

Google Threatens To Pull Street View From Switzerland; Will Launch In Poland

Google has appealed a recent Swiss court decision that requires the company to guarantee 100% anonymity of faces and license plates in its Street View imagery, and says it may cut the service altogether in Switzerland if the ruling isn't changed. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google attorney Peter Fleischer told reporters, "We simply cannot comply with the current terms of the court. If the ruling is not amended, we will not have any choice but to pull Google Street View services from Switzerland." Fleischer says Google will appeal the ruling to Switzerland's highest court. In [...]

Austria Ends Ban On Google Street View; Google Unmoved

Austrian officials have lifted an almost year-long ban on Google Street View, but Google says it has no current plans to offer the service there, anyway. According to the Austrian Independent, Austria's Data Protection Commission (DSK) announced on Thursday that it was ending the ban that started in May 2010; that's when Google admitted that its Street View cars had been accidentally collecting personal data over unsecured WiFi networks. But that doesn't mean Austrians should expect Street View to be available anytime soon: Google Austria said today it was "happy" about the DSK's dec [...]

Belgium Launches Investigation Of Google WiFi Data Collection

While some countries have already completed their investigations, Belgium is just now launching a probe into Google's collection of Wifi data over unsecured WiFi networks. According to the Flemish newspaper De Morgen, Belgian data protection officials believe Google is guilty of a "flagrant violation of privacy protection laws." A Bloomberg report says the Belgian privacy committee passed its findings to government prosecutors because the committee doesn't have the power to fine Google. Google has previously admitted that its Street View cars accidentally collected personal data via une [...]

Dutch Agency Orders Google To Remove Data About Citizens’ WiFi Routers

Dutch data officials have ordered Google to give the country's residents a way to remove data that Google has about where their WiFi routers are located. It's part of the ongoing dispute over Google's collection of personal information via unencrypted wifi networks -- something the company has said all along was accidental. According to the Associated Press, Google has already deleted the data that it collected in The Netherlands (as it's also done in some other countries). But the Dutch Data Protection Agency (DPA) says Google's knowledge and use of where those WiFi networks are located "s [...]

Google Has Stopped Street View Photography In Germany

In most locations, Google sends its Street View cars out on a repeated basis "to make sure the information is accurate and kept up to date," as the Street View website explains. But that's not happening in Germany. Despite the recent German court ruling that declared photography from streets legal in Germany, Google has stopped Street View photography there and says it has "no plans to launch new imagery on Street View in Germany." A Google spokesperson says the company's priorities have changed: Our business priority is to use our Google cars to collect data such as street names and [...]

Swiss Court Demands 100% Anonymity In Google Street View Photographs

street-view-car-featured A Swiss court says Google must make sure all faces and license plates are blurred on Google Street View, even if Google has to blur them by hand. That's one of several pieces of the Swiss Federal Administrative Court decision handed down today, and the one that's likely causing the most disappointment at Google. The company's automated blurring technology blurs about 98-99% of faces and license plates, and Google recently argued that manual blurring of all Street View imagery would be prohibitively expensive. (Imagine, for example, if other countries followed suit with a similar demand [...]

German Court OKs Google Street View Imagery In “Landmark Decision”

German publication Deutsche Welle is reporting that a Berlin court has vindicated Google Street View operation in Germany. In late 2010 Street View went live in Oberstaufen, a small town in Bavaria. Subsequently it was rolled out in 20 major cities throughout Germany. Around the same time a German woman sued Google claiming that Street View images of her house violated her property and privacy rights. The court disagreed. According to Deutsche Welle the court found that photography from the street is legal in Germany and not a violation of property rights: The court ruled that it is [...]

Google Fined 100,000 Euros By French Privacy Regulator

According to wire service AFP, France's data privacy regulator has imposed a EUR 100,000 ($142,000) fine to punish Google for collecting private WiFi data via Street View in France. This is the first fine/penalty any country has levied against Google over the WiFi data collection. When it first occurred, Google acknowledged the data collection but said it was unintentional and pledged to destroy all private information collected. "We screwed up," Google co-founder Sergey Brin said at the time. According to the AFP article: CNIL, the National Commission for Information Freedom, said Goo [...]

Google Relaunches Street View Website

Google is revealing more about its sometimes controversial Street View product with an expanded web site that just launched today. The new site continues to show where Street View vehicles are currently active and educates people on how to use Street View's features. But there are new sections about the different Street View vehicles (cars, bikes, snowmobiles and a hand-pushed cart/trolley), as well as a non-technical explanation of how Google turns photos into Street View imagery. The new site also focuses on that imagery: the home page currently features a stunning photo of a botan [...]

Google’s Mayer: “We Do Have Too Many Products” In Local

Google Maps. Google Places. Google Earth. Google Hotpot. Google Latitude. Google Street View. Different mobile and desktop versions of some of those. Different Android and iPhone versions of some. The list could go on. If you think Google has too many locally-oriented products, you're not alone. Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of Search who recently began focusing on the company's local efforts, agrees. "I think that, ultimately, we do have too many products and we need to condense them," Mayer said Friday at the SXSWi conference in Austin. "I think some of our products should be features. Ar [...]

Israel: Google Street View Will Be “Good For Tourism & Image”

If all goes according to plan, Google's Street View service should be driving through select cities in Israel soon and the photos could be online later this year. It'll be Street View's first move into the Middle East but, despite the obvious security concerns, the Israeli government says the service will be good for tourism and appears to be ready to let it launch with what one interested observer calls a "minimalist approach" to security issues. About two weeks ago, a committee led by Israel Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor announced plans to cooperate with Google to bring Street View [...]

Google At Loggerheads With Swiss Over Street View Images

Swiss privacy officials want Google to blur every face in Street View, even it's by hand. Google typically does facial blurring with automation and says that process works in 99 percent of cases. However there's that pesky 1 percent of cases where that doesn't fully obscure people in the photographs. Now the Swiss are telling Google that the company should manually review all Street View images taken in Switzerland or "take the service offline," according to the Wall Street Journal. The Swiss have very strict privacy rules (obviously). Currently Google is prevented by court order from up [...]

Google, Connecticut-led Coalition Agree To Negotiate WiFi Data Collection Issues

Google and the Connecticut-led coalition of 40 US states will avoid court and begin negotiations that are aimed at settling issues related to Google's collection of personal data over unsecured WiFi networks. In a press release issued today (PDF), newly-elected Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen says the coalition will not pursue a demand issued last month that Google produce the data it had collected. The previous AG, Richard Blumenthal, had hinted that he would consider legal action if Google resisted giving over the data. According to today's announcement, Google has made a fe [...]

South Korean Police File Criminal Charges Over Google’s WiFi Data Gathering

Here's a follow-up up on last week's report: South Korean police have now filed criminal charges against Google over the collection of personal information via unsecured wifi networks. The data was collected by Street View vehicles in South Korea between October 2009 and May 2010. According to the AP story, police examined the data that Google collected and determined that it broke two South Korean laws. South Korean police concluded after months of analysis of hard disks obtained from Google that the company's activities broke South Korean laws protecting privacy of telecommunications a [...]

South Korea May Arrest Google Execs Over WiFi Data Collection

South Korean police are planning to file criminal charges against Google executives over the collection of personal data via unsecured wifi networks. According to IDG News/PCWorld, the country's national police agency has determined that Google acted illegally when it gathered personal data as part of its Street View mapping service. A police official says they're interviewing Google officials in South Korea, but wouldn't confirm if arrests are expected. Police say they plan to file criminal charges against the Google executives that ordered the data collection, but that may never happe [...]

Google Sued Over Street View Showing Woman’s Underwear On Clothesline

The Telegraph reports Google was sued by a Japanese woman because its Google Street View service displayed an image of her home with her underwear hanging in clear sight. The suit is for over $7,000 US dollars or 600,000 Yen. The woman is claiming psychological distress that has worsened her existing obsessive-compulsive disorder. "I was overwhelmed with anxiety that I might be the target of a sex crime," the woman told a district court. "It caused me to lose my job and I had to change my residence." "I could understand if it was just a picture of the outside of the apartment, but sh [...]

Connecticut Attorney General Threatens Legal Action Over Google WiFi Data

Connecticut's outgoing Attorney General says legal action is a possibility after Google refused to turn over personal data that it's collected via unsecured wifi networks. Richard Blumenthal tells the Wall Street Journal that he's "disappointed" by Google's decision not to respond to recent demands to review data that Google collected from Connecticut businesses and residences. "We will review any information we receive and consider whether additional enforcement steps -- including possible legal action -- are warranted," Blumenthal told the WSJ on Friday. Google has maintained all alon [...]

Australian Police Drop Google WiFi Investigation

Saying it's unlikely to get a conviction, the Australian Federal Police has given up its six-month investigation of Google's collection of personal data over unsecure WiFi networks. In a statement issued Friday, the AFP says that Google's activities "may have" broken the law, but that pursuing the matter further doesn't make sense. Evidence exists to suggest that the potential breach of the TIA by Google was inadvertent. Coupled with the difficulty of gathering sufficient evidence required for an examination of potential breaches, the AFP has concluded that it would not be an efficient [...]

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