The German government met with Google and other Internet executives this week regarding their concerns about the privacy of personal geographical data. The concern arises primarily from the company’s StreetView technology, which has raised widespread concern in the country. Despite the unprecedented move by Google to allow any German property owner to opt-out of having their home or business appear in StreetView, the German government insists that more must be done to define privacy or the industry will face legislation. The next step for online mapping companies is to draft a charter that guards the privacy of geographical data, and they’ve been given a deadline of Dec. 7 to comply.
While this a country-specific demand, where are the industry groups to respond to this request? This is not a Google-specific mandate, and the entire global geospatial industry stands to be affected by any legislation. There are legitimate concerns regarding online geo privacy, and it seems like the time is ripe to address these issues collectively so that privacy issues don’t curtail the important insight provided by these tools.