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Google threatens to pull Street View from Switzerland

updated 06:40 pm EDT, Wed May 11, 2011

Will appeal to Swiss high court to overturn ruling

In March, a Swiss court ruled that Google must blur out all faces and license plates that were captured in Google's Street View application. Today, Google advised it would appeal the decision to Switzerland's highest court. If the court does not overturn the lower court's decision, Google threatened that it would pull Street View out of the Swiss market.

The company does use software that is capable of rendering 99 percent of an individual's face unidentifiable. However, Switzerland's privacy watchdog, the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commission, had ruled that Google must obscure faces manually. Google has contended that this created an unacceptable logistical and financial burden upon the company.

"We simply cannot comply with the current terms of the court," said Google's legal counsel, Peter Fleischer. "If the ruling is not amended, we will not have any choice but to pull Google Street View services from Switzerland."

Switzerland is just one of several European countries that have challenged Google's Street View over privacy issues recently. In April, the Netherlands demanded that Google create an opt-out option after claiming that Google illegally captured MAC addresses while taking photographs for the service. Last year, Google agreed to hand over private Wi-Fi router data to German, French and Spanish authorities that the company had collected, again while developing Street View information. [via Wall Street Journal]

by MacNN Staff



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