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Deal limits Google Street View

Google has reached an interim agreement with Switzerland’s data protection authorities over the internet giant’s Street View service.

Google has agreed not to add any new pictures to Street Views of Switzerland or any other Google service until the Federal Administrative Court decides on the dispute over privacy protection.

The deal with the federal data protection commissioner, Hanspeter Thür, allows Google to continue taking pictures using its car-mounted cameras, as long as it does not put them online.

“In addition, Google commits to a final and binding Swiss court decision and also to implement it with regard to images, which have already been transmitted outside Switzerland,” Thür said in a statement.

According to the deal reached on Wednesday and made public on Friday, Google is required to give one week’s notice of the districts or areas it plans to photograph.

Thür brought the case to the Administrative Court last month because in his opinion faces and car registration plates in Street View images were still not sufficiently blurred, and many pictures did not respect people's private sphere.

Google rejected many of the recommendations he made immediately after Street View went online in the middle of August.

Street View allows viewers to take virtual strolls around towns and cities and see whatever happened to be there at the time the pictures were taken.

The service has been criticised in several European countries for allowing individuals to be identified without their knowledge or consent.


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