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Summary:

A variety of European regulators have expressed privacy concerns about Google’s Street View product, but a decision made public today looks…

Google Street View with laptop
photo: Corbis / Julian Stratenschulte

A variety of European regulators have expressed privacy concerns about Google’s Street View product, but a decision made public today looks like the biggest setback yet. A Swiss court has sided with privacy regulators in that country, ruling that Google’s system for automatically blurring faces in Street View doesn’t go far enough, even though Google (NSDQ: GOOG) says that system manages to blur 99 percent of the faces that show up in its images.

The WSJ report on today’s development quotes Google’s global privacy lawyer saying the company is evaluating its appeal options.

The Swiss authorities want Google to do a manual review of Street View images that would ensure 100 percent of faces were blurred. But Google said last month that isn’t possible, “logistically or financially,” and has noted that services similar to Street View are already available in Switzerland.

Until now, the biggest setback to Google’s Street View program has been in Germany. The company had to make big compromises to roll out the product in that country, including a system that allowed all Germans to “opt out” of the system by having a building blurred.

  1. Richard Tobin Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    I am sure should the CIA want to take a look at your house they will not be relying on the blurred version.

    The agenda for collating this information is less than clear but as part of the tapestry of Google data, which includes the wireless router identification collated against all ‘Street View’ locations and then the record of ‘Google’ searches made via this equipment, a powerful information resource exists for marketers and overseas police-states alike.

    Stand by and await your rendition!

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