Apple’s new Street View competitor “Look Around” aka “Ummachen” is surprisingly extensive: almost every town and village in Germany was photographed for the street photo service integrated into the Maps app. Nonetheless, there has hardly been any pixelation so far. The number of requests not to show their own house is extremely small. This was announced by the responsible Bavarian State Office for Data Protection Supervision (BayLDA) on request.
Not two dozen requests for pixelation
According to this, only around 15 to 20 requests have been made for Look Around, whose recordings were made between 2019 and 2022, since their introduction in the first German cities in April. A BayLDA spokeswoman told Der Spiegel. The Apple material is significantly more up-to-date than the much less comprehensive Google Street View images, which date from 2010 or earlier and have not been updated in this country since then. In the case of the BayLDA, there are apparently fewer requests for the entire pixelation of a house – as is common practice with Street View – and more requests not only for the automatically pixelated face of a person visible in Look Around, but for their entire body to be invisible make.
Why there are so few desires for pixelation remains unclear. Apple had already declared its coverage of all of Germany in advance, although it was not initially stated whether the data is for internal use or should actually be published. However, since the beginning there has been the possibility to delete places and other content. To do this, you have to send an email to the iPhone company – there are no empirical values as to how quickly they react here.
Tim Cook’s house not in sight
However, celebrities can already be deleted from Look Around. At the forefront is Apple CEO Tim Cook himself. His – relatively modest – dwelling in Palo Alto, California, has been covered by pixel blocks since at least spring 2022. It was initially not possible to verify whether this also applies to his $10 million villa in the desert. Cook recently had a fight with a stalker who claimed that Cook was the father of her children and that she was his wife – even though the Apple CEO is a gay man. He had coercive measures imposed on the woman, so she was not allowed to approach either Cook or Apple employees.
Whether the pixelation is related to this was not commented on. However, Cook’s house can no longer be seen on Google Street View – which has much more recent photos in California than those in Germany. Other celebs like Billie Eilish also had their homes blacked out after being stalked.
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