Privacy concerns cause Bing Streetside to be shut down in Germany

Having a picture of your house appear in Bing Streetside is apparently causing some problems for a few German citizens. GigaOM reports that Microsoft has now decided to cut off access to its street level mapping photo feature in Bing in Germany after some people in that country expressed concerns about the service.

In a statement, a Microsoft spokesperson said:

We have learned that there are a limited number of customers in Germany who have raised concerns about their blurring requests. As we take privacy and data protection of our customers very seriously, we decided to take down the StreetSide Beta service in Germany, while evaluating these individual cases and working on a solution.

Bing Streetside started taking pictures of German streets for Streetside in May 2011, but the company did give German citizens the option to request that pictures of their homes be blurred out of the Streetside feature. PCWorld.com reports that in March 2012 the company said it had over 31 Germany cities, including Berlin, as part of the Streetside program. Microsoft said that it will continue to take pictures for the service while it remains shut down.

Google has also run into problems with having its Street View service updated in Germany over similar privacy concerns.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

New York proposes banning anonymous online comments

Next Story

Amazon Prime getting hundreds of Paramount movies

13 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Unsurprising. They already complained about Google Street View, so that Google needed to introduce a feature allowing people to remove their houses. Now someone else comes along and does the same thing over again. What did they expect would happen??

I think that's pretty ludicrous. If someone wanted to harm or hurt someone at a location, I don't think StreetSide or Streetview will make a major difference. The person would probably case the place rather than rely on possibly outdated images. If there are faces or maybe identifying markers, then just simply asked to be blurred. Done.

I can understand government building being blurred in spots but private homes? What do they do when they decide to list their house for sale? Describe it as bland as possible with no mention of the size or number of rooms?.....to each his own I suppose.

marinejld said,
I can understand government building being blurred in spots but private homes? What do they do when they decide to list their house for sale? Describe it as bland as possible with no mention of the size or number of rooms?.....to each his own I suppose.

Actually the German government did nothing. They are the user itself they protest.

marinejld said,
I can understand government building being blurred in spots but private homes? What do they do when they decide to list their house for sale? Describe it as bland as possible with no mention of the size or number of rooms?.....to each his own I suppose.

while i'm a big fan of Microsoft this I can understand, or at least try to... this (Street View and Streetside) is a service which I can or cannot use and participate as I choose to; one SHOULD get the option to opt-out

it's not about privacy per se, it's about people's right to choose which service they participate in or not - in your example if I want to sell my house I take photos and post it on some interweb site of my choosing, or pay an agent to do the same - but who gave permission for Google or for Microsoft in these germans names? these are companies, not supranational entities, these questions (the ones that concerns an entire population or country) should be dealt with by local governments - it's not good when an ******* company like google just presumes they can get your photo, post it on the internet and make money from it

so going along this line of thinking I may want to blur out my complete house on Street View because I don't use Google services and I don't want to help them (with content) to make money, but I may want to show the same house on Streetside - I should have the right to choose between companies and/or services

Edited by deleted_acc, May 24 2012, 8:48am :

thekim said,

Actually the German government did nothing. They are the user itself they protest.


Obviously you didn't even read the comment you were replying to.

Morden said,

while i'm a big fan of Microsoft this I can understand, or at least try to... this (Street View and Streetside) is a service which I can or cannot use and participate as I choose to; one SHOULD get the option to opt-out

it's not about privacy per se, it's about people's right to choose which service they participate in or not - in your example if I want to sell my house I take photos and post it on some interweb site of my choosing, or pay an agent to do the same - but who gave permission for Google or for Microsoft in these germans names? these are companies, not supranational entities, these questions (the ones that concerns an entire population or country) should be dealt with by local governments - it's not good when an ******* company like google just presumes they can get your photo, post it on the internet and make money from it

so going along this line of thinking I may want to blur out my complete house on Street View because I don't use Google services and I don't want to help them (with content) to make money, but I may want to show the same house on Streetside - I should have the right to choose between companies and/or services

Both Street view and streetside, operate under photography laws. Photography laws state, that you are allowed to take a photograph of anything visible in a public location. Considering that the streets are considered a public location, the photographing of your house is covered under this practice, as long as the photograph was taken on the actual street without trespassing on your property. The option to blur out your house or even your face is an added bonus that both Google and Microsoft have willingly done to keep the peace with people who have privacy concerns.

Ad Man Gamer said,

Both Street view and streetside, operate under photography laws. Photography laws state, that you are allowed to take a photograph of anything visible in a public location. Considering that the streets are considered a public location, the photographing of your house is covered under this practice, as long as the photograph was taken on the actual street without trespassing on your property. The option to blur out your house or even your face is an added bonus that both Google and Microsoft have willingly done to keep the peace with people who have privacy concerns.

I'm not sure this law actually valid if an enterprise is involved - but if so the law needs to be updated

Morden said,

I'm not sure this law actually valid if an enterprise is involved - but if so the law needs to be updated


Perfectly legal here.

This is just BS raving all again.
Blurrmany 2.0

GS:mac

"Google has also run into problems with having its Street View service updated in Germany over similar privacy concerns.'

Prob same people i bet