Germans Seek To Block Google Street View

    September 30, 2008

Aspects of Google are pretty popular in Germany; the latest comScore data indicates, for example, that it’s cornered 79.8 percent of the country’s search market.  Google Street View is being looked at in a different light, however, and may hit a show-stopping barrier in the town of Molfsee.

Reinhold Harwart, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union on the town council, wants Street View to stay away from Molfsee.  "We are not going to let this happen," he said according to Spiegel Online.  Harwart then continued, "You can see everything in those photos!  That is opening house and home to criminals!"

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For Google, the first problem is probably those exclamation points.  It’s not too often that you see such strong sentiments in a news report.  Issue two is that a German state deputy officer agreed with Harwart’s response.  Problem three: they’ve got a plan.

Harwart said, "We will require that they get a special-use permit for the streets. . . .  And when they ask for a permit, we will say no."

If Google goes ahead with Street View coverage in Molfsee, it’s easy to imagine the company losing a court case (see the Gmail/Google Mail fiasco).  If Google puts on the brakes, other towns and cities all over the world might decide they also want to escape Street View.

The situation will definitely bear watching.