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.

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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.

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