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Google considering shutting down Street View in Switzerland

May 11, 2011 |  8:58 am


Google is considering shutting down Street View in Switzerland if the supreme court there fails to throw out an April court order mandating that the tech giant give an "absolute guarantee of anonymity for people" photographed in Street View photos, according to a report.

Patrick Warnking, Google's country manager for Switzerland, told the Associated Press that the company will ask the Swiss Federal Tribunal to overturn the court decision, which also would require Google to make unrecognizable not only people, but license plates as well, before images are published in Street View.

If the Federal Tribunal decides to uphold the court mandate handed to Google by the Swiss Federal Administrative Court last month and if Google goes through on its threats, it would mark the first time that Street View has been turned off in an entire country, the Associated Press said.

Google first came under fire over Street View privacy concerns in Switzerland in 2009 and has faced similar complaints in other countries.

"We will try our very best to preserve Street View for Swiss users," Warnking told the AP. "We have already taken measures to protect the identity of individuals and vehicles in Street View. And we hope that this will be appropriately recognized in the appeals process."


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Photo: Thomas Imboden drives a Google Street View camera-equipped snowmobile in the shadow of the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland, in February. Credit: Olivier Maire / Keystone/Google/Bloomberg News