Google Street View only went online in Germany this month, after a very public controversy about the service. Many Germans complained that Street View violated their privacy, and Google took the unusual step of allowing consumers to opt-out of the service before it went online. Almost 250,000 Germans, or about 3 percent of the country's population, did so. The vandals apparently found this an easy way to find and target them.
Google has had a few privacy issues in the past, but Google Street View has been particularly problematic, In addition to Germany, Street View photography investigations have been made, or are still ongoing, by Canada, the Czech Republic, the European Union, Greece, Italy, Japan, Switerland, and the United Kingdom.
Google says it "distances itself completely" from people such as this. "We've clearly given people the possibility to blur out their house, and naturally we respect their wishes," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "Those people who want to make use of the function should do so.