Google says Germans can opt out of its Street View navigation service for privacy reasons.
The service maps out real-life street scenes that users can see on their PCs but German authorities worry it could be highly intrusive.
“Google Street View is a service with positive effects. However it may also violate personal rights and freedoms if you consider Google could take take pictures of your house and even over your fence,” said Johannes Caspar, Hamburg’s Data Protection Commissioner.
Google has its German headquarters in Hamburg.
The online giant uses specially-equipped vehicles to build up its photo archive of cities worldwide.
Government pressure extracted the opt-out concession from Google which has run into trouble in other countries over Street View.
Police in South Korea raided its Seoul offices over an alleged breach of data protection law.
The California-based firm launched the software in 2007 with the service making its European debut in six French cities the following year.
It is set to be offered in 20 German cities by the end of 2010.