Google Threatens To Pull Street View From Switzerland; Will Launch In Poland

google-street-view-logo-oldGoogle has appealed a recent Swiss court decision that requires the company to guarantee 100% anonymity of faces and license plates in its Street View imagery, and says it may cut the service altogether in Switzerland if the ruling isn’t changed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google attorney Peter Fleischer told reporters, “We simply cannot comply with the current terms of the court. If the ruling is not amended, we will not have any choice but to pull Google Street View services from Switzerland.”

Fleischer says Google will appeal the ruling to Switzerland’s highest court.

In early April, a lower Swiss court issued several rulings regarding how Google must implement Street View, one of which was a requirement that all faces and license plates be blurred before the images are published online — even if Google has to do it manually.

Google uses automated blurring technology that the company says can blur about 98-99% of faces and license plates. Fleischer says the technology is getting better, but told reporters that it will never be 100% perfect.

The April court decision also requires Google to remove images that show private locations that a “normal passerby” wouldn’t see, such as inside courtyards and walled gardens.

The WSJ says it may take a year for the Swiss Federal Court to decide Google’s appeal.

Street View Coming To Poland

Meanwhile, a Polish newspaper reported this week that Google has wrapped up discussions with privacy officials in Poland and Street View cars will soon begin driving and photographing five cities there: Warsaw, Wroclaw, Poznan, Gdansk and Krakow. The imagery is expected to be available early next year.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Legal | Google: Outside US | Google: Street View | Legal: Privacy


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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