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244,000 Germans opt out of Google Street View

Germans want their privacy and the Google abides. In a statement today, the search giant said it is blurring out more than 244,000 households from its Street View feature on Google Maps before the service launches in the country next month. Google estimates that about three percent of households in Germany’s 20 largest cities have opted out. Before it could launch Street View in the country, German authorities demanded Google allow citizens the opportunity to be removed from the service.

“The high number of objections to Google Street View shows that citizens want to decide which data about themselves is published on the Internet,” said Peter Schaar, the head of Germany’s data protection watchdog.

Google will also provide a tool allowing citizens to request certain images to be made “unrecognizable.” Street View is currently available in 23 countries, though Germany is the only country where individuals could opt out of the feature before it launches.

Wi-Fi woes

Street View is causing a lot of headaches over at Google. The company got in trouble earlier this year when it was discovered that its Street View camera-vans were collecting Wi-Fi data from individuals, which sometimes included personal information and passwords. The company insists that the data was only used to determine location, but has ceased the practice after outrage in Canada and Germany. Germans were especially furious about it, as they are at Facebook for privacy related issues.