LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – Total anonymity is taking data protection too far, the Swiss Federal Tribunal (supreme court) ruled Friday morning, easing the rules for Google Street View.
The court nevertheless laid down strict guidelines for the search engine firm.
Google’s Daniel Schoenberger, head of legal affairs for Switzerland, says the company is pleased with the ruling’s recognition of “a key part of our appeal, acknowledging that we have strong privacy controls in Street View, like automatic blurring of faces and license plates. We’re reviewing the court’s decision in full and are speaking to the DPA as we consider our options.”
The high court in today’s ruling says that Google total anonymity is unreasonable, but it has told the company it must respect this in sensitive locations such as around hospitals, schools, prisons, courts, homes for the elderly and women’s centres, so that faces and distinctive traits are blurred before publication. The company has also been told it must blur faces upon request and that it should create an online form that is easy to find that allows people to request this be done quickly.
In addition, existing rules remain in place about not showing courtyards or areas that are normally hdden from public view but that become visible when 2-metre high cameras are used.
Google should also do a better job of informing the public when cameras will be filming in an area, the court says.