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Google Wants Swiss Government to Lift Restrictions on Street View

google streetview in switzerland
Google's ongoing legal battle with European regulators has shifted to Switzerland. Today, the company asked a Swiss court to lift restrictions on its Street View service that have been in place for more than a year. The curbs were originally implemented in response to demands from authorities and privacy advocates, who claimed that the feature violated individual rights to privacy.

Speaking before a Federal Administrative Court in Bern, Google's lawyers
argued that the Street View service is comparable to similar features offered by rival companies, and pointed out that all images of individual faces and license plate numbers are automatically blurred.

But Swiss data protection commissioner Hanspeter Thuer disagreed, and used photographic evidence to back up his counterargument. In a demonstration before the court, Thuer used Street View to find examples of individual faces that hadn't been properly blurred, including some that were inside private homes.

"I don't want a ban of Google Street View," Thuer said. "But in the present form Google Street View breaches basic principles of privacy." The commissioner suggested that Google take greater steps to guarantee that all sensitive images are properly obscured, even if that requires the company to manually check every single photo. Huer also argued that Google should block private gardens from view, as well as hospitals, schools and women's shelters.

In defense, Google insisted that the images captured by its Street View cameras aren't of a quality high enough to actually identify individuals, and pointed out that the company's filtering technology is constantly improving. A final verdict is expected at a later date.

Tags: court, europe, google, GoogleStreetView, photos, politics, privacy, StreetView, switzerland, top, Web