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Data protection absurd - when fear becomes panic

What have two attacks in Norway, in which more than 90 people lost their lives, have to do with the data protection discussion on the Internet? Not much at first glance. But they give reason to discuss security.

Zoff about Google Streetview

In autumn 2010 an absurd discussion broke out in Germany that is unparalleled anywhere in the world. Their subject: house facades. The trigger: The introduction of the Google Streetview service in Germany.

Google Street View is an additional service to the map service Google Maps and the geoprogram Google Earth. The service was presented for the first time in June 2007. The special thing about Streetview: The 360-degree panorama images show house facades and traffic not from above, but from the street perspective. You will be recorded with special vehicles that drive the streets with nine cameras and three laser measuring devices for three-dimensional measurements. A large part of the USA can already be found in Streetview, and parts of other countries, such as France, Japan, Italy, Great Britain and Australia, since summer 2008. From July 2008, Google recorded German roads in many cities and counties and published the locations where further recordings were planned. On August 10, 2010, Google announced that Streetview should be made available for the 2010 largest cities in Germany in 20. At the same time, Google granted an eight-week objection period in which homeowners or tenants could submit an application for their residential building to be obscured. Google undertook to delete the raw data material - the pixelated houses are therefore irrevocably lost.

But Google did the math without consumer associations, privacy advocates, local governments, the homeowners' association, politicians and the media. Because they soon fueled fear of the data octopus Google, which is now also penetrating our living room with its cameras - which ultimately led to that Company Had to process 244.237 requests for obscuration and finally announced in April 2011 that Streetview would be expanded in Germany or that the images would be updated. The alarmists had done a great job with their witch hunt on Google. Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner (CSU) railed: “No secret service would go hunting for images so unabashedly. The search engine group Google already has more precise personal profiles than any government in the world. ”Peter Schaar, the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, named very tangible - and false - consequences at the network policy congress of Alliance 90 / The Greens on November 13, 2010 that Google Streetview could have for individuals: A Deutsche Bahn personnel manager who wants to fill a position and now finds an anti-Stuttgart 21 poster in a candidate's window via Google Streetview. And the network activist Jens Best, for whom a ban on Google Street View amounts to a ban on taking photos of public buildings and thus a restriction on freedom of the press and freedom of expression, was polemically attacked and threatened from all sides. Explanation of his opponents: With his campaign “Lost Houses”, which wanted to photograph pixelated houses in street view and thus make them visible again, he did not respect people's desire for privacy. But in truth the excitement had completely different causes.

Placebo data protection

Pensioner Ludwig Hillesheim Düsseldorf-Niederkassel became world famous thanks to Google Street View. This is because he spoke out against the publication of photos of houses and streets, especially because of his garden. For one Items  At the Rheinische Post he had himself photographed in front of his house with his neighbors, the married couple Anne and Erich Jeschkowski and Konrad Richter. His address wasn't there, but it can be found in the phone book.

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