Swiss want new rules to regulate firms like Google

May 23, 2010
Switzerland's data protection chief said that the country needs new rules to regulate Internet services such as Google which could pose a problem to individuals' privacy.

Switzerland's data protection chief said Sunday that the country needs new rules to regulate Internet services such as Google which could pose a problem to individuals' privacy.

"I believe that Internet services and applications that could endanger personal rights must be subject to a licensing procedure," said Hanspeter Thuer, Swiss data protection commissioner, in an interview with newspaper Sonntag.

Asked if this meant that a sort of Google-law was required, Thuer said: "Yes. A change in legislation is needed not just for Google, but for all IT applications. Everyone that offers applications on the market that could harm personal rights must be certified."

Thuer had said last year that he was taking Google to court in a dispute over on the US Internet giant's "Street View" picture map.

It emerged this month that Google had collected personal information from Swiss private wireless Internet networks (WLAN) while it was assemblying pictures for the "" map.

has said that this was done "in error" and that it would destroy the data as soon as possible.

Thuer said a group of experts should be established to find out what had happened in this case, and what kind of data had been captured.

To Google's claim that it was a blunder, Thuer said it is "difficult to imagine that a multinational group with so many experts had collected data over years and that this was just an error."

"But I will also not exclude this. I am now expecting a full disclosure on what happened exactly. The credibility of this company now depends on this disclosure," he said.

Explore further: Swiss watchdog demands shutdown of Google Street View

Related Stories

Google pledges more blurring in Switzerland

September 2, 2009

(AP) -- Google Inc. said Wednesday its Street View service will blur some pictures from Switzerland even more after a Swiss official said the images were violating the country's strict privacy laws.

Swiss watchdog threatens to sue Google over Street View

September 14, 2009

Switzerland's data protection watchdog on Monday threatened to sue Google over its "Street View" facility, saying that measures taken by the American Internet giant to address privacy concerns were inadequate.

Swiss official tells Google to erase street views

August 24, 2009

(AP) -- A Swiss government official is demanding that Google Inc. immediately take off the Internet any "Street View" images of Switzerland, and the company said Monday it would work to resolve problems with the privacy ...

Germany to Google: Respect data privacy

May 20, 2010

(AP) -- Germany's Foreign Minister has warned Google co-founder Larry Page to respect the nation's data protection laws in an escalating dispute over the U.S. Internet giant's "Street View" mapping program.

Recommended for you

Microsoft aims at Apple with high-end PCs, 3D software

October 26, 2016

Microsoft launched a new consumer offensive Wednesday, unveiling a high-end computer that challenges the Apple iMac along with an updated Windows operating system that showcases three-dimensional content and "mixed reality."

Making it easier to collaborate on code

October 26, 2016

Git is an open-source system with a polarizing reputation among programmers. It's a powerful tool to help developers track changes to code, but many view it as prohibitively difficult to use.

Dutch unveil giant vacuum to clean outside air

October 25, 2016

Dutch inventors Tuesday unveiled what they called the world's first giant outside air vacuum cleaner—a large purifying system intended to filter out toxic tiny particles from the atmosphere surrounding the machine.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet May 23, 2010

It is certainly okay that they request some oversight to figure out what happened, but to create more silly laws about what a person can do with pictures?
Great, even more ways to screw clueless people over!
Because as always, Ignorance of the law is NO excuse!
Gotta love those law classes you don't get in school.
Why is it so hard to believe it was entirely accidental?
And before someone says it, don't cite Eric on his comments on privacy, it applies to every single company who holds information.

Most of the stuff that goes in to Street View is automated.
I spotted a glitch in street view on the road just up from me, there was some sort of weird grey dimension of nothingness between sections in the road.
But seriously, accidents can happen, i've had my accidents, hadn't noticed it till months later because of my horrible naming habits. (turned out i was crawling a whole bunch of websites when i thought i disabled it, only figured it out with a drive inspector... 70+GB...)
5 / 5 (1) May 23, 2010
this is the direction google is head in terms of privacy.

4 / 5 (1) May 24, 2010
Why is it so hard to believe it was entirely accidental?

Because it is naive to believe otherwise. How do you not only "accidentally" sniff the wifi networks as you're driving by, but also "accidentally" store the raw intercepted traffic?

And before someone says it, don't cite Eric on his comments on privacy, it applies to every single company who holds information.

We're talking about a company which is becoming more and more pervasive and is building the largest information repository ever known. Considering their dominant position, to compare Google's behaviour with another is laughable.
not rated yet May 24, 2010

All very good points, but Google has nothing on government databases.
Watch the docu-film Erasing David, that shows a lot of insight in to your average governments information on people.
Admittedly the film was slightly flawed in that he kept contact with the people he knew, but that is another point altogether.

Google just cares about advertising. That's weak-sauce in comparison.
And when you have idiots in control who "lose" their work on trains or whatever else, it is a serious problem. Even worse when they don't use encryption!

I might be a minority in opinion, but i would rather have ads targeted at me rather than some random crap about something i hate.
I find advertising useful. I have found loads of useful things through advertisements, whether it was through TV, web, newspapers and magazines, radio, or even word-of mouth and conventions / demos.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.