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Surprising Science

Swiss Insist on Google Street View Privacy

A Swiss court says Google must guarantee all faces and license plates photographed as part of its Street View maps are unrecognizable, even though Google says it’ll cost too much.

A Swiss court has stood up for individuals’ privacy rights in a case involving Google’s Street View images. Google  maintains that manually blurring out the faces and license plates sometimes caught by its cameras would be financially and logistically unfeasible. But it found little sympathy in the court, which said that merely obscuring a good portion of them via an automated process, which Google presently does, wasn’t enough. “The anonymity of individuals must be ensured,” the court wrote. “Every person has a right of privacy with respect to his or her own image. No one may be photographed without his or her consent.”


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