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Google to Bow to Switzerland’s Street View Wishes




google-street-view-car Google Street View began its European adventure a while ago—and it’s been met with resistance in more than a few places. Switzerland, like several other countries, was concerned that Street View wasn’t sufficiently blurring people’s faces and cars’ license plates, and that the height of the camera meant they’d see over privacy hedges and fences (which, even in the US, might constitute a breach of privacy).

Today, the Swiss government tells Reuters that Google is already ready to accede to its pending ruling. The Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) Hanspeter Thuer brought the case against the street-level panoramic photo mapping service, and though it hasn’t been heard yet, Google is ready to comply.

As part of this agreement, Google may continue to photograph Swiss cities, but will not put any photos online until the agreement is approved. They must also give at least a week’s notice in cities they plan to photograph. Although today’s agreement didn’t touch on this problem, Google has previously said they’re not willing to lower their cameras (though they did this in Japan, but that was for photo quality in narrower streets).

A source told Reuters that a decision from the Federal Administrative Court was “unlikely” in 2010.

Switzerland joins England, Germany, Greece, Japan, Australia and even America as countries with some level of backlash—be it grassroots, individual legal challenges or governmental challenges.

What do you think? Will Google also give in to the height restrictions, or will they ultimately win out?

  • http://www.eugeneg.com Looking for Entrepreneurs

    With Google’s power and influence, I see they will ultimately win out. I’m a big fan of Street view and I’m all for this.