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After Modifications, Google Street View Approved For Switzerland

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the good-idea-to-do-what-the-swiss-ask dept.

EU 84

An anonymous reader writes "Since Google began collecting Street View data in Europe a few years ago, many countries have taken it the company to court in order to settle privacy concerns. The NY Times reports that the last challenge to Street View's basic legality has been resolved. Switzerland's top court accepted that Google could only guarantee they would blur out 99% of faces, license plates, and other identifying markers, but also imposed some additional restrictions. 'Those conditions would require Google to lower the height of its Street View cameras so they would not peer over garden walls and hedges, to completely blur out sensitive facilities like women's shelters, prisons, retirement homes and schools, and to advise communities in advance of scheduled tapings.'"

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So... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40269635)

...everybody has to get some fondue?

As not to offend the well-heeled. (2, Insightful)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269643)

'Those conditions would require Google to lower the height of its Street View cameras so they would not peer over garden walls and hedges

While it'd not be a complete 1:1 mapping of those features to large & gated-off mansions, one can see where that one came from.

Re:As not to offend the well-heeled. (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269699)

This is Europe not America.

Re:As not to offend the well-heeled. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40269709)

Not to say that there isn't some nice villa's in switzerland,vbut in most european cities space and privacy is a precious commodity. I live in zurich and looking outside my apartment I can see the guy taking a shower next door. When your bedroom window is on the verge of the street, asking google to lower their camera is the least that they can do, I would go further and ban it completely in built up residential areas. Curtains help.

Re:As not to offend the well-heeled. (3, Funny)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270511)

...looking outside my apartment I can see the guy taking a shower next door.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest some high tech things like drapes and blinds to solve this problem.

Re:As not to offend the well-heeled. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40276855)

The neighbor in question is probably fine with being seen occasionally and feels that he doesn't have to hide in the home.
If on the other hand you take pictures, then the neighbor is probably no longer fine with that.
If you go even further and you organize those pictures in a searchable online database, then you're probably breaking some privacy laws.

So in this modern world you can either force people to hide in their home by closing the drapes, or you can say that you're not allowed to take massive amounts of pictures of peoples homes.

Re:As not to offend the well-heeled. (3, Informative)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269741)

Where do you live that only rich people have fences or hedges? More importantly where all have you traveled that you've never seen towns where everyone has those things? I've lived all over the USA, and I'd in say about 1/3 to 1/2 of the places I've lived it's been common for most people to have fences or hedges for privacy. In Phoenix almost every house has a 6' block wall fence, including in very poor neighborhoods.

Re:As not to offend the well-heeled. (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269963)

Where do you live that only rich people have fences or hedges?

A lot of places [goo.gl] , including some in America [shutterstock.com] don't have fences.

Re:As not to offend the well-heeled. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40269971)

In most of the places I've lived in the U.S.A., 6' hedges or fences are against code at least in residential areas. Although the rules against it make the neighborhoods better looking, it's not a superficial rule and instead is based on the fact that high hedges and fences actually tend to increase crime rather than decrease it.

Re:As not to offend the well-heeled. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270059)

Try again. 6' hedges and fences are allowed virtually everywhere in U.S.A. You're conveniently using only part of the easement and setback rules to your advantage.

Re:As not to offend the well-heeled. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40281423)

Switzerland. It is not uncommon to have local laws about fences and hedge height.
For instance where I live you CAN have a wall how ever high you like around your property *but* there is a basic rule that is enforced (seriously, I routinely see walls/fences going up and thinking 'not legal', within 3 months the wall is down again and replaced by legal hedge/fence).

Long story short you can have a 1.2 Meter (4 Feet) fence but if you want taller you most come in the height of the fence from the boundary of your property then build your fence. So a 2 meter fence (6 ft) will means you have to come in 2 meters from the boundary to build it.

Switzerland, your neighbors can see what you are doing in your backyard, and that is the way they (we) like it.

Fritz

Re:As not to offend the well-heeled. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270157)

This is probably coming from the expectation of privacy one has behind a hedge/wall above the head level, i.e. over which people can't see, but the google car could.

Why do we need real images? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40269655)

Satellite based imagery plus topographical street view data could be used to reconstruct buildings. 3d maps is good enough for most purposes. Real images are overrated.

Re:Why do we need real images? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40269901)

Comparing Google street images of houses vs. MLS photographs is priceless. MLS photogs frame out the hoarding neighbor, the tree leaning over the house that will cost $10,000 to remove, the leaning deck. Google street is one of several tools that have saved me a lot of time and gas that would have been spent looking at places I don't want to live.

Re:Why do we need real images? (1)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40275373)

I use Street View for when I want to know what the View is from the Street. Another poster has mentioned shopping for real estate, but that's far from the only use. I use it for the utterly prosaic purpose of identifying landmarks and storefronts when I'm planning a vacation or shopping trip to an unfamiliar destination. The top of a building just doesn't look like the side of a building.

prisons? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40269659)

OK, a lot of that I can see - e.g, women's shelters or schools. But if the Google van snaps some photos of the outside of a prison, what's the problem there? Presumably they're not violating the privacy of the inmates, who are inside the prison, and anyone could come along and photograph the prison from the same place and post it on Flickr.

Just curious what's up with that.

Re:prisons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40269703)

'anyone could do it" is not valid here, since that "anyone" in this case intends to profit by spreading those photos over the entire world. although, it is interesting the courts have any right to block Google, as you say.. what exactly is the legal difference from some random person snapping a photo, paparazzi for instance?

Re:prisons? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269763)

and anyone could come along and photograph the prison from the same place and post it on Flickr.

Anyone who routinely uses a camera at the top of a 3 meter pole.

Re:prisons? (3, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269823)

Presumably they're not violating the privacy of the inmates

Yes they are. In Europe privacy does mean something much more complexx then it does in the USofA.
It does not just mean: "Things I do in my house with the curtains closed".
It goes much, much further then that.

Perhaps you can best compare it to the original copyright where I have the right to my own life and everything that goes on it it. And copyright as me, the owner of my life. You should have my permission of you want a copy of it.

Re:prisons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40269997)

What about the people coming and going to visit prisoners or the guards themselves?

I don't see the point with schools though.

Switzerland is not a EU member (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40269673)

Why is this tagged "eu" and has a EU flag? Switzerland is not a EU member.

Re:Switzerland is not a EU member (-1)

rhook (943951) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269691)

EU also refers to Europe.

Re:Switzerland is not a EU member (2)

Steve Newall (24926) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269755)

No, EU refers to the European Union See EU in Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] of which Switzerland is not a member.

Re:Switzerland is not a EU member (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269863)

the Abbreviation for Europe is EUR (which is ALSO the abbreviation for the Euro currency, which is confusing too), but people do use EU instead (whether right or wrong), but here, alongside the flag, it's blatantly just idiocy at work.

Re:Switzerland is not a EU member (1)

sosume (680416) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270757)

That's like using US for Canada

Re:Switzerland is not a EU member (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270807)

That's like using US for Canada

Or more like America for United States of America? The two are related, but they're not really the same.

Re:Switzerland is not a EU member (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40272203)

Come on! US and Canada are nearly the same thing.

Re:Switzerland is not a EU member (1)

bstocker (886888) | more than 2 years ago | (#40273103)

No. EU refers to the "Europe Union", a political term, no to be confused with "Europa", a geographical term. Switzerland ist located in Europa, but is not member of the Europe union. The flag shown for this article is the EU-Flag with the circle of stars on blue ground. Switzerland has - like all countries - it's own flag: a white cross on red ground.

Women's Shelters (2)

rhook (943951) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269683)

Wouldn't blurring these out be the same as putting up a sign saying "Women's Shelter"? I thought those places were nondescript houses.

Re:Women's Shelters (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269979)

Wouldn't blurring these out be the same as putting up a sign saying "Women's Shelter"? I thought those places were nondescript houses.

I expect its the 1% of faces that don't get blurred that they worry about here - someone escaping a violent partner appearing on google images outside their address

Women's Shelters (-1, Troll)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269989)

That's exactly what I was thinking. Also, how is Google supposed to find out where they are, so that they can blur them out? Does somebody actually have a list they can provide them? Is google now responsible for maintaining and keeping secret a list of women's shelters?

Perhaps before they publish a map for an area, they can send in people to stalk battered women. If several of them go to the same place, that can be identified as a women's shelter, which needs to be identified^H blurred out on Google Maps.

Re:Women's Shelters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270165)

Not unless you have the time to cross-correlate with the others. But if you can go with that much effort, why would that matter? It'd be easier to find it another way.

Re:Women's Shelters (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271045)

It's much easier than that. Look for blurred out houses in a residential neighborhood.

Switzerland is not in EU (4, Informative)

orzetto (545509) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269705)

Even if the article is tagged EU, it discusses only Switzerland, and Switzerland is not in the EU [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Switzerland is not in EU (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270003)

Nowadays I read EU as Europe and US as North America. I suppose my gaming background is showing here.

Re:Switzerland is not in EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270969)

Great that I'm not the only one noticing that :)

If you are out in public why expect privacy? (5, Insightful)

capedgirardeau (531367) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269767)

The law regarding this type of thing here in Switzerland drives me crazy.

You are out in public, you should have no expectation of privacy. Period, end of story.

What is next? Legislating that no one can look at anyone else in public? We all have to walk with our heads down so we don't accidentally see anyone else out on the street?

I am all for private data staying private, but when I am out in public, it is, get this: public information.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (4, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269851)

I am all for private data staying private, but when I am out in public, it is, get this: public information.

I have a 6' fence around my backyard. My neighbors cannot see in, and I cannot see out Stand in the street, take a picture of the front and side of my house, and you see fence.
Now elevate your viewpoint to 10 feet. You can see much more.

If I stood in front of your house taking pics with a camera on a 10 foot monopod, you'd rightfully wonder WTF. But Google, with their 10 foot tall cameras, somehow gets a pass.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (2)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269871)

That's reasonable. What's not really reasonable is having to blur out faces, license plates, and a billion other things.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (2)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270047)

What's not really reasonable is having to blur out faces, license plates

It is perfectly reasonable because leaving them in does not contribute anything to the value of StreetView. It's not FaceView or LicenseView, after all. Even if you leave those things unblurred the presence of a certain person or a vehicle at a certain location is generally useless - those things are mobile...

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270311)

People have been shown leaving sex shops or prostituting themselves. In the past if you did those things away from where you live there was basically zero chance of anyone you know finding out just by seeing you do it. Now your picture will end up on hundreds of web sites and be preserved forever.

Worse still facial recognition is rapidly improving and it isn't hard to see that given a few years it would become possible to search for people on Street View, even if Google are not the ones offering the service.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270231)

How is this different from taking a picture from a bus window or a truck cabin?

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270439)

Neighboring buildings can easily view over fences, as well as nearby over passes and raised road ways.
Many homes are built on slopes where their property is plainly visible from an uphill position.
Six foot fences offer little privacy when tall (six foot five and over) persons walk near by or when the yard is downhill from the road way.
Passengers and drivers of vehicles of significant height, such as semi-trucks and buses, can plainly view over many standard fences.
I speak from experience, living down hill from the road, neighbors homes being multiple stories in height, having ridden buses and being nearly six foot six.

People should still be able to have reasonable expectations of privacy while in yard's with fences designed for privacy. Photographing and recording celebrities, politicians, nude sun bathers, or other person's when in their yards does not seem appropriate. Though perhaps such such expected privacy of one's yard will become ever less reasonable as automated information gathering continues to advance.

These issues seen with Google Street View will likely persist and be seen in other areas as technologies develop and as information gathering becomes ever more automated.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270485)

I suppose that's reasonable. But suppose I'm riding past your house on a really tall unicycle. Should we be banning those as well? Or should you have a taller fence?

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (3, Insightful)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270691)

A person riding past on a tall unicycle results in one person seeing over the fence. Google taking pictures is explicitly for the purpose of posting them to a popular web site with strong indexing so anyone in the world can look over your fence remotely.

I wouldn't mind if some guy on a unicycle looked over my fence and saw me exposing myself to the sky. He can deal with his own mental scars. But I wouldn't be happy about it at all if Google took pictures for the whole world to see.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270615)

I have a 6' fence around my backyard. My neighbors cannot see in, and I cannot see out Stand in the street, take a picture of the front and side of my house, and you see fence.

except anyone that's about 6'3" or taller can plainly see over your fence. that's not to mention people getting piggy back rides.. THE HORROR!

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270641)

If I stood in front of your house taking pics with a camera on a 10 foot monopod, you'd rightfully wonder WTF. But Google, with their 10 foot tall cameras, somehow gets a pass.

You've made a good point, but just to clarify.

The height Google Street View was using for their camera was actually around 8.2 feet, or about 2.5 meters, and those pictures are usually taken from the middle of the road, not just a few inches next to the top of your fence.

And no, I'm not trying to give Google an excuse here. 8.2 feet in some of the smaller streets in Switzerland was too high in my opinion. And I'm glad that the government is making them lower that height. But for many larger streets, wider boulevards, and autoroutes, where larger trucks and buses routinely drive on, 2.5 meters is about the eye level of some of the truck drivers and bus passengers, and in my opinion that makes the expectation of privacy at that height in those areas much different.

For one thing, 2.5 meters was just enough to see above the car roof of most cars, but if you lower that limit across the board, many more street numbers and road signs will start getting obstructed depending on traffic, and that could seriously decrease the continuity and the quality of the resulting product.

Also blanking out prisons and women's shelters, doesn't make much sense to me. The Swiss government obviously didn't learn from the mistakes of other governments or Barbra Streisand. Experience has shown, that hiding information, which would normally be publicly accessible, only helps publicize that information even more and attract it undue attention.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (1)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40275489)

Also blanking out prisons and women's shelters, doesn't make much sense to me. The Swiss government obviously didn't learn from the mistakes of other governments or Barbra Streisand. Experience has shown, that hiding information, which would normally be publicly accessible, only helps publicize that information even more and attract it undue attention.

The point, I think, is not to conceal the existence or location of these facilities (which can, after all, be readily established using a telephone book), but rather to more-thoroughly protect the privacy of the individuals visiting or making use of them. As Google has acknowledged that their face- and number-plate-blurring algorithm is only about 99% effective, the Swiss solution is to insist on specific exclusion of these particularly-privacy-sensitive locations. (It was deemed that "Oops, we're sorry that the battered woman in the window of the shelter was part of the 1% our algorithm missed" wasn't a sufficiently robust response.)

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271515)

Now elevate your viewpoint to 10 feet. You can see much more.

Just out of curiosity, are stilts illegal where you live?

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272503)

Well, duhh, two storey houses are also illegal in your neighbourhood. Your neighbours need permission before they or contractors they employ can climb on their roof. Trucks driving through your neighbourhood must paint out their windows. Your neighbour also pays to have all hills and slopes removed, dead flat, to match their heads.

You own the privacy inside your home not out in your yard, that is part of the neighbourhood and as it impacts them, both in the products you release from your yard and the impact of the appearance of your yard and the safety of objects and structures in your yard.

Basically grow up, you are part of a society not some lone creature living in the wilds. If you want to be a lobe creature living in the wild, then do so. What happens when a neighbour places security cameras around the perimeter of their home mounted directly at the eaves, much higher than six feet. What happens when a neighbour wants to add a second storey addition. Let's guess, you want to do what you want to do in your yard and you want your neighbours to do what 'YOU' want them to do in their yard.

Notification of Google street view dates is going to be a joke, companies will be real dicks and putting up signs all over the places, especially near the competitors. Every smart alec is going to try to pull all kinds of stupid stunts to get on google street view, injuries and deaths, very likely. Basically Google should just give Switzerland a quick cheap trial with advanced notice, and then put up the resultant mess, and then quit before wasting more money.

Hint, for the stupid, why are googles cameras mounted so high because they are not the only cars on the road and the cameras have to be higher than say 'SUV's, otherwise they have to keep driving down the same street, over and over and over and over and over again. Basically mount the cameras low and you are wasting your time.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (1)

TranquilVoid (2444228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40305155)

Actually, in many places neighbours can register their disapproval over building adjoining two-story houses, and such houses, if built, have requirements on the height of windows overlooking neighbouring yards.

But that's sort of irrelevant as many of the other things you point out are true. What is not true is that there is a simple "it must be impossible to see into a yard" principle in the law. This is about the practicality and the effects, and the possible effects from Google showing your yard to the world is a lot greater than from a tradesperson or passing stilt-walker.

To me it's similar to phone books. Everyone used to happily list their name, address and phone number in the local/state book. Now that this information is published globally online, people think it's "stupid" and "dangerous" to, say, state your address on Facebook.

This change in concern is both valid and invalid. The valid part is that the larger the group of people the more outliers there are, so you are exposed to the possibility of a more extreme event (some weirdo in another country randomly falling in love and stalking you, or those 5000-people flash parties at your house etc.). The invalid part is that it's probably as likely as being involved in a shark attack.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (1)

xenobyte (446878) | more than 2 years ago | (#40280985)

There are two things here:

1) Google should take their photos from a human height, i.e. 6-7 feet, not 10 feet or more. This is what people see so that's what Google should show.
2) What are you hiding? - You can put up a hedge or similar which obscures things, but a 6-foot solid fence? - You MUST be hiding something!

Seriously, I think it's a runaway trend to put up tall fences, walls and so on. You need to open up and face the world, not shield yourself from it. It's arrogant and somewhat hostile to do separate yourself from the world like that.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40269855)

I'm not sure, few companies have the capability to do with Google is going with Street View and of those only Google has the will to do it.

A possible parallel might be someone who uses 'public' information to deduce private information, like your SSN, birthday, mothers maiden name, name of your high school, etc. Once you put enough 'public' pieces together, you start to build something that can be used to harm individuals who have done their best effort to protect themselves. Maybe they don't use those bits of information directly, but distribute it for (directly or indirectly) profit.

In this case Google is profiting from web traffic via advertising. I'm not saying their criminal, but perhaps not ethical in this case.

I love Street View, but we've gotta be realistic and admit they aren't just some guy out taking photos. I applaud the Swiss government for having the insight to protect their citizens. I wish the US government would do the same.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40269905)

The law regarding this type of thing here in Switzerland drives me crazy.

Then campaign to repeal privacy laws, or emigrate - perhaps to the US? I hear they grant a huge level of privacy to the government, and no-one else.

You are out in public, you should have no expectation of privacy. Period, end of story.

Well, with words like "should", "period" and "end of story" you sure do make a convincing argument.

Here's my take: you want to store and process data involving other people's identity (including their homes), you obtain their permission. If you try to make money doing that without permission, expect the courts to force you to compensate those whose permission you have not sought.

What is next? Legislating that no one can look at anyone else in public?

No. Do what you want with your own brain. But you have no property rights over data involving other people's identity, which means you don't get to store, process or distribute such data.

I am all for private data staying private, but when I am out in public, it is, get this: public information.

Define "out in public". Because, to me, I have rights unless I give them up. And I don't give them up merely by walking somewhere which you have decided implies that I give them up. That's the tyrant's way.

"By daring to move from your house, you should have no expectation of the following rights. Period, end of story."

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270279)

Define "out in public". Because, to me, I have rights unless I give them up. And I don't give them up merely by walking somewhere which you have decided implies that I give them up. That's the tyrant's way.

Oh, I think I know you. Are you the guy that walks up and down the main street where I live screaming "STOP STARING AT ME!" to people, dogs, cats, lamp posts and pillar boxes?

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270487)

As a radio amateur, you rely on the fact that people respect your right to a degree of privacy in your sections of the e-m spectrum. They could argue that in public you have no right to privacy, and as such people should be able to behave as they wish with any part of the e-m spectrum - so reflect, mix, amplify, and transduce any frequency - as long as it causes no physical harm to others.

So I'd heartily shut the fuck up if I were you.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270567)

I don't really see how you get "privacy" in sections of the RF spectrum. In fact, the amateur radio bands are one of the bits that absolutely anybody is allowed to listen to without restriction.

I wouldn't give someone my bank details on S20, although you certainly hear a lot of the old farts discussing their medical problems up the top end of 80m.

Where does privacy come into it?

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270659)

Privacy is, in physics terms, a restriction on reflecting, mixing, amplifying, transducing, etc. e-m and pressure waves in "public". It's attaching owner(s) or potential owner(s) to particular frequencies.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272769)

Aha, so you're using a synonym out of context to make quite a clever point.

It's a shame it doesn't come down to the laws of physics, because it would make preventing interference from unlicensed operators easier.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40272519)

I think he addressed that claim you are making.

"Do what you want with your own brain. But you have no property rights over data involving other people's identity, which means you don't get to store, process or distribute such data."

I guess reading skills are becoming a luxury these days.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (1)

LocalH (28506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271353)

But you have no property rights over data involving other people's identity, which means you don't get to store, process or distribute such data.

Taken literally, that means you support banning address books and phonebooks?

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40272533)

I'm not OP but I say yes, they should be opt-in.

Why the fuck should I care that the phone book loses value if I don't agree to have my name and contact info in it? Why should I put up with the risk of anybody who might want to wish me harm, such as the last telemarketer I told off, to know where I live? I don't owe anything to whoever makes the phone book, last I checked.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270013)

As long as the government doesn't start using the 'public data' to track your every movement and associations, i agree.

while not being able to look at another person is sort of silly, i wouldn't be surprised if they start banning cameras in public.

Re:If you are out in public why expect privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40272567)

There's no need to ban cameras. A few countries in Europe, such as France (and I believe Switzerland too, but I could be wrong) have laws that give you copyright over any video/photo you appear in, unless you waived those rights.

I'm not sure about the details, but I know you can object to the use of a video/photo you are in and have that use terminated. So if somebody posts a photo of you online, according to the law you can get the photo taken down. It works even if other people are in the photo - you all share the rights to the photo and if a single person objects to its use, that person's objection takes over.
This still allows people to tape/photograph in public but restricts the use of such recordings so that people's rights to privacy and to their image aren't violated.

Not blurring better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40269835)

I quote: " to completely blur out sensitive facilities like women's shelters, prisons, retirement homes and schools."

The Swiss are usually clever, but in this case I wonder. Women's shelters typically don't advertise that fact on their exteriors. They look like all their neighbors, which is a good way to hide. But requiring Google to blur such facilities is an almost perfect clue as to what they are. Prisons and schools are obvious from their exteriors (even blurred) and a retirement home can be categorized with a quick visit. (Who comes in and out.) That means that blurs that look like homes or small apartment buildings are likely to be women's shelters.

If I were running such a shelter, I wouldn't ask for blurring. In fact, I'd insist on no blurring.

Re:Not blurring better (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270291)

Just what I was thinking. You'd think the compromise would be more like someone has to go over the images of a "sensitive facility" by hand to make sure there's no faces left visible, not a giant flag screaming THIS IS PROBABLY A SHELTER! If there's any doubt, well, most of the other blurred facilities (Google Translate sez: schools, hospitals, retirement nursing homes, shelters, courts and prisons) publicly advertise the fact, so it shouldn't be hard to type the address of the suspicious place into... well, Google, and see if it comes up or not. Hell, if local Streetview is any reference, then the non-shelters will all have a nice little arrow-thing on the screen or on the inset overhead map saying what it is!

Seems reasonable (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269893)

Lowering the height seems reasonable. If someone has a high fence or hedge or such, they obviously consider the area behind it "private" and wish it to stay that way. But doing so will not significantly worsen the Street View images.

Likewise, blurring out sensitive areas is also logical. I think they're going a bit too far, personally - retirement homes? - but it's still not unreasonable. I can disagree with the extent of that decision while still recognizing that it was a logically-defensible and rational decision.

Advising communities in advance is also reasonable, if defined reasonably. Obviously, demanding Google go door-to-door six months ahead of time and personally notify every single person is unreasonable, but if it's just "mail them a letter stating the days and approximate times you expect to go by" or "put a notice in the local newspaper", it's fine. I doubt many people will care, but it will placate the few who have concerns.

Re:Seems reasonable (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270287)

Warning people will allow them to put out advertising. Could become a national sport, getting your personal message on Google.

Re:Seems reasonable (1)

NettiWelho (1147351) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271603)

Could become a national sport, getting your personal message on Google.

Get your message on google just in time to get it automatically blurred with a lot of other things too.

So in other words (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40269995)

Its now useless there.

I'm as much for privacy as anyone else but if i can stand on the street corner and see something, there is no reason Google cant record it too.

Don't want to be on Google, don't do whatever you are doing within sight of the street....

Re:So in other words (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270125)

if i can stand on the street corner and see something, there is no reason Google cant record it too.

Privacy, just like security, is largely based on obscurity. Yes, you can stand on the street corner and watch. However you have to physically be there to do that. Given that not everyone is overly interested in doings at street corners, most people are safe and secure simply because there are too many street corners for observers to stand at.

Google offers to be your personal army of watchers. You no longer need to personally visit places - your proxies do that for you. All you now need is to sit in your comfortable chair at home and inspect as many photos as you can. Rain, snow, national borders are no longer an obstacle to you, and you cannot even be stopped by the local police. StreetView is a huge force multiplier. There are already examples of private acts that were observed by StreetView and completely missed by locals.

Don't want to be on Google, don't do whatever you are doing within sight of the street

If ten million people don't want to be inconvenienced by Google, it's entirely up to them to tell Google to get lost.

Re:So in other words (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272963)

What if another ten million people don't want to be inconvenienced by those ten million people?

Re:So in other words (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#40273001)

What if another ten million people don't want to be inconvenienced by those ten million people?

It depends on who can insist on his solution, who is more powerful. I think Chairman Mao already explained what the origin of power is.

In this case it is quite obvious who is in control in the country: it's the country's government, representing all citizens. Opinions of citizens of other countries, or of employees of foreign corporations, have no weight here.

Nothing aids my comprehension of an area like blur (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270123)

What, exactly, is the problem with showing women's shelters, prisons, or schools?  Will bad people not be able to find them without street view?  What is the downside, I don't understand.

Re:Nothing aids my comprehension of an area like b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40272083)

Bad people should have no trouble in finding prisons without Street View. All they need do is commit some crime, go to a police station, and turn themselves in.

Re:Nothing aids my comprehension of an area like b (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 2 years ago | (#40274747)

Yes, you beat me to it! I thought that was strange too. I could see women's shelters, but prisons and schools are very strange additions to the privacy list. You mean students and prisoners have an expectation of privacy while going to their cells? Good luck with that.

What about individual or community opt-out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270189)

The community I grew up in, in the USA is not available on Google Street. I assume this has something to do with the presence of some military and foreign dimplomats in the community. It's a suburb of Washington DC so that's quite common.

Some explanations for non-Swiss people (3)

AnonymousDot (517935) | more than 2 years ago | (#40270377)

Switzerland, like probably some other countries in Europe, has privacy of its citizen written in the law. That means that, by default, you are not allowed to take pictures of home gardens without prior approval (with or without fence). You also cannot also take picture of, or interview, individuals without their prior consent.

Now North Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270779)

Now if Google just changes the maps in North Korea a bit to show the glorious leader's vision for how great their country looks to the rest of the world, they'd be allowed there as well.

Google should adopt this for all street view. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40270875)

Why does it take one country to impose common sense on street view?

The rules Switzerland are imposing should be used across all of street view, not just for Switzerland.

Re:Google should adopt this for all street view. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40272585)

Well privacy is written into law in Switzerland (might actually be in the Constitution too, I'd have to check).
The Swiss also care a great deal about their privacy. Then again they also like to mind everyone's business. But anyway, it doesn't surprise me that the Swiss would force Google to follow these rules.

I suppose in order to follow the example Switzerland has established here, other countries would have to
a) Make the law care about privacy
and
b) Educate their people to give a damn about their privacy.

Switzerland is already in street view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40273267)

What date is this? Switzerland is already mapped by street view. Germany and Belgium are not but Switzerland largely is.

Schools? Really? (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 2 years ago | (#40274733)

When did schools become "sensitive facilities?" I thought that was strange -- part of the apparent "there's a stalker behind every bush" mindset of modern parents.

Creates barrier of entry for competitors (2)

wired_parrot (768394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40275291)

It seems to that the various privacy laws in place across Europe targeting Google Maps have little effect on Google, which has enough resources that they can easily apply technical fixes to tackle each states differing privacy requirement. The net effect though, is to provide a high barrier of entry for competitors. A young startup wishing to start a competing street level mapping service will not have army of lawyers to sort through each states differing laws. Nor may they have the technical expertise to accurately implement blurring algorithms to the satisfaction of the courts. In short, while these laws are intended to target Google, they end up benefiting it, by making it more difficult for competitors to enter the field.
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