Germans have recently been getting a lot of stick from internet-sucking freedom muppets for complaining about Google Street View. “Get with it, you square sad-dad,” people have been exclaiming every time a German-looking man has walked past. Occasionally they have thrown also a “Where's your penny farthing?” at their receding, humiliated figures. This is no cyberspace for old men.
This is unfair, if you ask me. Just because your front door is open to public inspection, doesn't mean you shouldn't get a say in who or why someone puts a picture of it online. And demanding a say isn't a sign of senility either. Anyway, there might be door perverts out there who fancy that frosted glass and knocker combination you've recently decided to furnish it with.
But the real concern is that Google has simply decided unilaterally to collect data, and there is no international law that can regulate it. Germany is not the only country that has raised objections to Street View – in Japan 20 towns had to be reshot from a lower angle to protect privacy.
Since Google servers are mostly outside Germany, and since Street View is administered from the US, we have no say in any of this, unless the EU helps us out by enforcing the Safe Harbor Principles it agreed to over a decade ago. But to some, the EU is an even bigger destroyer of liberties. We are, apparently, simply servants of two masters.