Swiss watchdog demands shutdown of Google Street View

Aug 21, 2009
Switzerland's data protection watchdog on Friday demanded that Google immediately withdraw the "Street View" facility it has started offering on its map of Switzerland.

Switzerland's data protection watchdog on Friday demanded that Google immediately withdraw the "Street View" facility it has started offering on its map of Switzerland.

Federal data protection and transparency officer Hanspeter Thuer released a statement warning that the US-based Internet giant was not respecting conditions he set to respect personal privacy in Switzerland.

Thuer said that based on public comments and his own browsing, many faces and vehicle number plates had not been covered up or were insufficiently blurred.

He "demands that Inc. immediately withdraw its online service Google concerning Switzerland," the statement said.

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

Google recently started taking shots in Switzerland.

The online service, which began in the United States, has sparked controversy because the snapshots also inadvertently capture passers-by on camera, sometimes in embarrassing or private moments.

Thuer said he would meet representatives of Google early next week to "improve" the service and ensure that it conforms with Swiss law.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: White House updating online privacy policy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Greece bars Google's Street View pending details

May 11, 2009

Greece's data protection agency Monday barred Google from taking any more images on the nation's streets for its Street View feature, pending "additional information" from the US search engine service.

Google removes street images over privacy complaints

Mar 20, 2009

US software giant Google said Friday it had removed several images from its Street View software, which allows web surfers to view parts of 25 British cities, after users raised privacy concerns.

Germany to Google: Erase raw street-level images

May 20, 2009

(AP) -- A data protection official for Germany said Wednesday that Google had yet to meet a key request that photos gathered for its panoramic mapping service be erased after they are sent to the United States ...

Google to reshoot street views of Japanese cities

May 14, 2009

(AP) -- Google said Wednesday it will reshoot all photos in Japan for its Street View service after residents complained the 360-degree panoramic images provided a view over the fences around their homes.

Recommended for you

White House updating online privacy policy

1 hour ago

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

Net neutrality balancing act

20 hours ago

Researchers in Italy, writing in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor pr ...

Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

Apr 16, 2014

Social networking company Twitter on Wednesday rejected demands from the Turkish government to open an office there, following accusations of tax evasion and a two-week ban on the service.

How does false information spread online?

Apr 16, 2014

Last summer the World Economic Forum (WEF) invited its 1,500 council members to identify top trends facing the world, including what should be done about them. The WEF consists of 80 councils covering a wide range of issues including social media. Members come ...

User comments : 10

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Omnitheo
not rated yet Aug 21, 2009
If you're outside, people are going to see you. If you're doing something stupid, it's your own responsibility, not google's. If you have a car, and drive it around outside, people are going to see your license plate. I don't see what the big deal people have with this is.
CreepyD
not rated yet Aug 22, 2009
I think this service is awesome and have used it a few times myself to 'scout' out an area I'm going to that I haven't been to before. Especially for things like corner shops.
You can also check for nice places to park before you arrive.
People should be embracing this excellent service.
holoman
1 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2009
I guess now we can see the IRS TAX EVADERS IN SWITZERLAND AND THAT'S BAD FOR TAX CHEATERS THERE !
docknowledge
1 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2009
Google doesn't give a damn. They posted a picture of my neighborhood, and "thoughtfully" blanked the faces of two people on my street. Except...their clothes are distinctive, and anybody in the neighborhood would know who they are. Just because they are in public doesn't mean they have a right to be surveyed by anybody in the world. Supposing they were political refugees? (Which, in this case they might well have been, since they wear old-style Chinese clothes.) It isn't that Google is catching criminals, they couldn't care less who they're exposing, good, bad or indifferent.
Bob_B
not rated yet Aug 22, 2009
I guess some folks feel better being on NSA monitors rather than us using the Google service. The NSA would never share those images with others and everything is OK.

This issue seems more political than science anyway, meh.
vika_Tae
not rated yet Aug 22, 2009
I think its more about the right not to be monitored 24/7, and not to feel that someone somewhere, whether government or corporate, is able to watch your movements.

I do realize Google street view is not about that, but at the same time, I can understand the position of those who do not wish to be seen on a given street, preserved forever, in place.

Perhaps if a degree of time-lapse was used, not much, but just enough to be able to completely edit moving people out of the picture, that would certainly help.
bfast
not rated yet Aug 22, 2009
The posts on this thread are so, well, American. Let the Swiss set their standards. Switzerland is not little America.
Flakk
not rated yet Aug 22, 2009
And you know what Americans think? all of them? Right....How very prejudice.
ubiquitous
not rated yet Aug 23, 2009
Not all things which seem useful and harmless evolve into good things. Yes, if you aren't doing anything wrong than whats the problem of a security camera and profiling device tracking and monitering us. But to what extent is that function being utilized? Or is this just slow conditioning so the breech of rights and privacy goes unnoticed?
vika_Tae
not rated yet Aug 25, 2009
I don't think its intentional conditioning, more a case of companies attempting to roll technologies out to be innovative, before the privacy aspects are fully thought through. The problem comes, I think, where multiple companies are so busy innovating and forgetting to check for privacy invasion in the rush, that overlooking personal privacy starts to become second nature for the industry as a whole.

More news stories

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

White House updating online privacy policy

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.