On September 20th Thomas de Maizière, Germany's interior minister, invited politicians, regulators and tech-company representatives to Berlin to discuss "geo-data services"—online technologies that identify the real-world location of individuals and their property. The meeting was an attempt to defuse a row that has rumbled since August, when Google announced it would launch its Street View service, an online mapping system that knits together photographs of streets and buildings, in Germany’s 20 largest cities by the end of the year. After the summit Mr de Maizière called on Google and other firms that publish geo-data to draw up, by December, a binding "data-protection charter" in line with Germany's restrictive privacy laws, saying that this could forestall the need for further regulation. Although the debate is at its sharpest in Germany, tensions have surfaced elsewhere. Last week the Czech government banned Google from collecting Street View information, citing data-processing concerns. Authorities in Italy this week barred Google’s Street View cars from picking up stray wi-fi data. see also Germany asks web firms to write privacy code (OUT-LAW).