Google Street View Can Stay in Switzerland, but with Restrictions
Google was given the green light to continue driving its Street Cars around in Switzerland today, according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, but the permission carries with it a series of regulations that Google must comply with in order to continue photographing the country.
The Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled that Google could go on with its Street View image collection but that it must respect several privacy provisions. Some of the must-haves from the Supreme Court are already the standard fare with Google Street View, such as the blurring of faces of people captured in the images. Google must also blur out license plates of nearby cars and, curiously, “sensitive facilities.” In the document issued by the Supreme Court, these facilities include the likes of women’s shelters, nursing homes, prisons, schools, courts and hospitals. The court also told Google to stay out of people’s lawns unless that yard is already visible to non-trike toting pedestrians.
Although Google Street View was celebrated at Google Maps’ “Next Dimension” presentation earlier this week, the ground-level geo service hasn’t had the best year as far as public relations go due to all of that spying on unwitting internet users of unsecured wireless networks.
Bumping up against governments concerned about the privacy of its people isn’t anything new for Google. Google Maps has seemingly abandoned any attempt to capture images for Street View in Germany due to that country’s stringent demands in order to ensure the privacy of citizens. Google Street View has also recently run afoul of the authorities in Australia for, again, spying on unsecured wi-fi networks that the company was doing via Street View cars.
Since you never know when God will show up in Switzerland with a couple of his pals, it’s a good thing Google will be around to take their picture again.[Via EPIC.]