Switzerland takes Google to court over StreetView

We told you a few months ago that Switzerland wasn’t pleased with the new StreetView imagery in their country.  Now they’re going to sue Google in an attempt to get the imagery removed.  Google intends to fight the case.

The first step will be interesting — Google may be required to remove the imagery from Switzerland until a ruling is made.  The order has not come out yet, but could come soon.  Hanspeter Thuer, the federal data protection commissioner in Switzerland, has asked the tribunal to force Google to take the images offline.

The outcome of this case will certainly have huge ramifications on the legality of StreetView in the rest of the world.  Other countries have been displeased with it, and if Switzerland is successful in getting the imagery removed it could cause a small ripple effect to other countries.

This will certainly be a story to watch.

Swiss want StreetView Disabled

It’s only been up for a few days, but the Switzerland Data Protection office is asking Google to remove the StreetView imagery they’ve shot in the country.  Their primary concern seems to be that “many faces and vehicle number plates had not been covered up or were insufficiently blurred”.  If memory serves, that’s not even something Google is legally obligated to do — they simply do it to avoid outcry from privacy advocates like this, though I’m sure the laws vary from country to country.

Hanspeter Thuer from the Data Protection team plans to meet with Google next week and help them “improve” the service.  It’ll be interesting to see if anything comes of this.

New StreetView and 3D cities released

helsinkiIt’s been a busy day for Google.  Earlier in the day they unveiled Helsinki, Finland in 3D, and the coverage is quite comprehensive.  Google Earth Blog has the details.

Also, as pointed out by Google Maps Mania, StreetView imagery has been released for a few countries.  This update includes a few major cities in Portugal (Porto and Lisbon), solid coverage over much of Switzerland, and also around Taipei, Taiwan.

All in all, a pretty busy day for Google!