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Swiss watchdog takes aim at Google Street View

The Google Street View service - which was launched in the USA in May, 2007 as an extension to Google Earth and Google Maps, and has since been rolled out across Europe and Australasia - has caused minor storms owing to claims by home and office owners that their privacy has been invaded.

It now appears that the Swiss data protection commissioner has outlined fresh proposals to Google Switzerland to improve the privacy of its online Street View.

The office of Hanspeter Thor, the Swiss data commissioner, has announced that here are 'problem pictures' on the Google Street View service that do not respect privacy and anonymity, particularly in private roads and gardens.

Google Switzerland has said it is "very disappointed" at Thor's comments, claiming it had supplied a lot of information and had received clearance to go online with the Swiss Google Street View service, only for Thor to change his position a few days later.

The office of the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner said that Google now has to improve its system of blurring faces and car registration plates to improve privacy.

Google also has to pay particular attention to blurring privacy sensitive places such as hospitals, schools and prisons.

According to Swiss newspaper reports, Google now has 30 days to accept the proposals. If they are rejected, Thor has said he may go to the Swiss Federal Administrative Court for a ruling.

 

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