Privacy watchdog takes Google to court

The Federal Data Protection Office is challenging Google in court on Thursday demanding more privacy on the search engine’s Street View service.

This content was published on February 24, 2011 - 10:42 and agencies

Lawyers for Google are asking the Swiss Federal Administrative Court in Bern to lift a temporary court order that has prevented it from updating the service for more than a year.

Street View allows internet users to virtually tour streets on a map and uses special vehicles with panoramic cameras to take ground-level 3-D images.

The data protection commissioner, Hanspeter Thür, wants Google to provide a  guarantee that all faces and car number plates are blurred. He also wants sensitive locations and private gardens obscured.

Before the hearing, the head of Google’s data privacy said he was confident that Street View would be deemed legal in Switzerland.

Peter Fleischer noted this was the first time any country had launched proceedings over the legality of Street View, adding the service was similar to systems offered by rivals and met Switzerland’s strict privacy rules.

The court is expected to announce a decision at a later date.

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