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Google Street View wins reprieve in Switzerland

09 Jun 2012
Google Street View car

A Swiss court has relaxed the privacy and anonymisation requirements being placed on Google's Street View service in the country.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal ruled that the company will not need to guarantee 100 per cent accuracy when blurring out the faces of individuals who appear in Street View images. The ruling overturns a previous decree which required all images be anonymised throughout the service.

"It must be accepted that up to a maximum of one per cent of the images uploaded are insufficiently anonymised," the Tribunal was quoted as saying.

Google's Street View service has fallen under scrutiny in much of Europe, where privacy groups worry that the service is violating the rights of citizens by collecting images without permission.

In addition to forcing the blurring of faces, some countries have placed restrictions on the height of the Street View cameras.

Criticism of the service was heightened when it was revealed that the imaging cars had been covertly harvesting information from passing wireless networks as they recorded street images for the service.

While Google has maintained that the collection of data was not authorised by the company and was not intentionally conducted, the company has drawn the ire of the European Commission over the incident.


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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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