Swiss take legal action over Google Street View

How do you make a Swiss roll? Put him in the Street View car and push him out the country
How do you make a Swiss roll? Put him in the Street View car and push him out the country

Google is being taken to court by the Swiss data protection watchdog over an alleged failure to protect people's privacy in its Street View service.

Google Street View has come under criticism in the past, but not legal action – until now.

"In the Street View service, which has been online since mid August 2009, numerous faces and vehicle number plates are not made sufficiently unrecognisable from the point of view of data protection, especially where the persons concerned are shown in sensitive locations, e.g. outside hospitals, prisons or schools," said the Federal Data Protection and Information Commission (FDPIC).

Improvement needed

"For these reasons, the FDPIC issued a recommendation on 11 September 2009, in which he called on Google to improve its efforts to protect personal data and privacy," it adds

"In its written response on 14 October 2009, Google for the most part declined to comply with the requests."

Hedge bets

And it doesn't stop there; FDPIC is also critical of the height of the Google Street View camera suggesting: "It provides a view over fences, hedges and walls, with the result that people see more on Street View than can been seen by a normal passerby in the street.

"This means that privacy in enclosed areas (gardens, yards) is no longer guaranteed."

It's a very Swiss response to the problem, as opposed to a mob of angry luddites.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.