Google and Friends Launch Privacy-focused Crowdsourced Image Blurring Service in Germany
The service comes in response to legal issues Google has run into in Germany. The country memorably allowed individuals to "opt out" of Street View display of their homes/businesses.
Google and several other companies have joined together to launch the service geodatendienstekodex.de.
The joint-effort organization is called Verein Selbstregulierung Informationswirtschaft, which, according to ZDNet, means something akin to “The Association for Self-Regulation in IT.” The organization’s members include Google, Nokia, Microsoft, Panolife, Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Post, and Encourage Directories.
This is basically a crowdsourced approach. If a citizen finds something unprivate in an online mapping app (a license plate number, face, etc.) it can be reported at the website. The complaint is sent to the company behind the image and if approrpriate, it is blurred. Visitors can also query for images from these companies of their properties they may want to censor. The hope is this solution will prevent any future laws regarding privacy. Google has not driven Street View cars in Germany since 2011.