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Google to upgrade Swiss Street View

Google Switzerland says it will upgrade its software to improve the blurring of faces and car registration plates on its Street View service.

The move is in reply to proposals by the Swiss data protection commissioner to improve privacy of the Swiss version of Street View. But Google has not taken on board all criticisms.

The intenet giant refuses to lower the height of cameras fixed to masts on Google cars, which take pictures in Swiss streets.

It wishes to continue to photograph buildings and road signs so that they can be recognised.

"Reducing the height of the mast would bring the camera closer to pedestrians," it said in a statement on Thursday.

The Swiss version of Street View, which allows users to take virtual strolls around seven Swiss towns, went online on August 17.

Five days later Swiss data protection commissioner, Hanspeter Thür, said it should be taken offline immediately because Google had failed to blur faces and car number plates sufficiently, as it had promised.

Thür's office said there were many problem pictures that did not respect anonymity, particularly in private roads and gardens.

It said it also had to pay particular attention to blurring such places as hospitals, schools and prisons.

The office gave Google 30 days to accept the proposals; it said if they were rejected, Thür might go to the Swiss Federal Administrative Court. and agencies


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