Swiss cheesed off with Google street view

Darren Allan

November 16, 2009

Google is being taken to court in Switzerland over its street view, the search engine’s ground level photographed maps.

Data Protection Commissioner Hanspeter Thuer has serious concerns about it breaching privacy rights.

That’s because items such as registration plates are visible on the photos. Faces aren’t sufficiently anonymous either, Thuer claims, which could be even more of an issue in sensitive areas such as prisons or schools.

Google does blur faces and plates, although not by enough according to Thuer.

He said that he had raised these concerns with Google back in August, but the search engine had failed to take any action.

When we looked at Switzerland through Google street view, the number plates we spotted were completely blurred and illegible.

But that might not be the case for all of them, and doesn’t tackle the other problems raised, of course.

At any rate, Google has said it won’t lie down on this one, and will “vigorously” defend itself in court.


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