Swiss privacy watchdog to sue Google Street View

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The Independent Tech

Google's unstoppable drive to map and photograph the world has run into an immovable object - Switzerland's strict tradition of personal privacy.

The country's privacy watchdog has announced plans to haul the search engine company before a federal court to force it to make changes to its Street View application.

Google criticised the decision and said it would defend itself in the case.

Street View allows internet users to view panoramic street-level pictures of more than 100 cities around the world. It already has been criticised in several European countries and Japan for allowing individuals to be identified without their knowledge or consent - potentially exposing embarrassing facts about their private lives.

Switzerland's federal data protection commissioner wants Google to ensure that all faces and car plates are blurred, remove pictures of enclosed areas such as walled gardens and private streets, and declare at least one week in advance which town and cities it plans to photograph and post online.