Feeds

Street View in (kind of) Swiss roll-over

Agrees to extra blurring, but no more

The Power of One Infographic

Google has agreed to a demand that it apply extra blur to faces and number plates to its Street View service in Switzerland, but has refused to lower the height of its car-mounted spycams.

Street View launched in Switzerland in mid-August, and the country's head of federal data protection, Hans-Peter Thür, was quickly rattling the privacy sabre claiming that "many faces and car registration plates were clearly visible or were insufficiently obscured".

He ordered the service offline - something which didn't actually happen - and Google agreed to apply extra blur where required.

This didn't satisfy Thür, who then mandated extra blur, and said there were still "many problem pictures that did not respect anonymity, particularly in private roads and gardens". He also ordered Google to "pay particular attention to blurring such places as hospitals, schools and prisons".

The Great Satan of Mountain View described itself as "very disappointed" at the additional instructions, and has now apparently decided enough is enough. It has declined to lower the spycams to protect people's gardens from visual violation, saying that doing so would "bring the camera closer to pedestrians".

Whether this is making a stand on principle or merely a way of trying to avoid reshooting Switzerland remains to be seen. In Japan, it was forced to completely recapture all the data seized by its all-seeing eyes following a wave of complaints.

In that case, it did indeed drop the cameras from 2.45 metres - "just over the height of garden walls and so on" - to 2.05 metres. A Google spokesman admitted: "Japan's housing environment contains many narrow streets and low walls, and we didn't take that into consideration."

Back in Switzerland, Thür has previously said he will drag the matter before the Swiss Federal Administrative Court if Google refuses to roll over. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.