Swiss and Google reach privacy accord pending verdict

Dec 18, 2009
The screen of a computer featuring the home page of Internet giant Google's website, seen here in September 2009. Google has agreed not to put pictures of Switzerland on its "Street View" picture map under a provisional accord to end a privacy battle with Swiss authorities, the government said Friday.

Google has agreed not to put pictures of Switzerland on its "Street View" picture map under a provisional accord to end a privacy battle with Swiss authorities, the government said Friday.

Swiss authorities took the case to the Federal Administrative Tribunal in November after Google refused to apply a series of government measures.

According to the agreement, "Google has committed to not publish any new image taken in Switzerland on (...) until the Federal Administrative Tribunal has given its ruling and it is in place."

Google can still take photos, but not publish them online, whilst those potentially concerned by the pictures "will be informed in advance".

Street View allows users to take a ground level of some locations on Google Maps, based on still photographs taken by specially-equipped vehicles.

The Swiss data protection commission has repeatedly complained, since the service was introduced for Switzerland this year, that many images of faces and vehicle number plates were easily identifiable and insufficiently blurred.

The data protection commission made new recommendations in September, after initially asking Google to withdraw the service until changes were made. refused, insisting that its blurring technology was good and the service was legal.

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