After Swiss court ruling Google threatens to pull Street view from Switzerland

first_imgLast month, a Swiss court ruled that Google must manually obscure the faces and license plates of Swiss citizens and vehicles in Google Street View to protect their privacy. Google contended that they have technology that automatically obscures faces and licenses plates, but the court insisted that Google engineers need to do it by hand. As a result, Google said they may be forced to pull Street View from the country entirely, as complying with the request would be too much of a resource drain on the company.As anyone who uses Google Street View in the United States knows, license plates and people’s faces are automatically blurred out before they even make it to Google’s Web site.AdChoices广告Google says that this technology makes 99 percent of a person’s face unrecognizable, and that should be enough to satisfy privacy concerns. The Swiss court disagreed, and said that this automatic processing wasn’t enough, and ordered the company to do it manually if they cannot guarantee the automated process can obscure 100 percent of all faces and license plates.Google has appealed the ruling. Peter Fleischer, legal counsel for Google, argued that the ruling was unreasonable, and stated that if the ruling wasn’t amended Google would have to pull the service from the country. Fleischer pointed out that 99 percent is already quite high and that the company’s technology will likely get better over time, but it’s impossible to promise 100 percent every time.Switzerland isn’t the first European country to take issue with Google Street View. Both France and Germany have had their own tussles with the company over the service, and the Netherlands recently passed data protection laws designed to force companies like Google and Microsoft to restrict the amount of information they collect from wireless networks while mapping.It’s possible that the Swiss ruling is specifically designed to shut down services like Google Street View, as the court must know it’s impossible to promise a 100 percent result from any process. Privacy groups have cheered the ruling, calling it a victory for personal privacy and a strong statement to other companies, like Microsoft, who recently announced plans to bring StreetSide to Europe.via the Wall Street Journallast_img

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