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Switzerland's Data Protection Watchdog Wants Street View Disabled 257

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-so-neutral dept.
glow-in-the-dark writes "The Swiss office for Data Protection has asked Google to turn off Street View within the country because it doesn't meet the conditions demanded when permission was given to go ahead with the photography. Google answered privacy concerns with the following points (I'm translating them from German; here's an automated translation): 'Google will publish in advance where it is going to record the images, so you can act accordingly.' Do they want you to hide? Where is the real obligation here? 'Google has made masking the images of people and car license plates obligatory.' I think this is where trouble starts, because their permission to go ahead appears to have been dependent on how well they did this. I have browsed one particular town as an experiment and was quite quickly able to find unmasked faces. This means that either the algorithm they use doesn't work, or that it is done manually and they've fallen behind (in which case they should not have put up the images). 'Although a picture of a home is generally not covered under Data Protection, Google has agreed to remove them if asked. Follow the same process as removing a person.' I think it wouldn't be half as bad if the pictures weren't taken with a high enough resolution to see inside a house. In short, Google has not been given the easy ride it had in other countries regarding Street View. I actually suspect there is more to come."
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Switzerland's Data Protection Watchdog Wants Street View Disabled

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  • ... but I'm just not happy with google going around streets and taking pictures of my house, my car, etc. Of course I've put photos up on the internet of the house, the cars, the inside of the house, loved ones - but that's stuff that *I've* posted (and on services that - theoretically - only an elected few can view). It's not illegal in Australia (hell, is it technically illegal anywhere yet?) and I'm sure it fits into google's "do no evil", but while it's not "evil", if an individual person (rather than a
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Then maybe the better solution would be to not streetview map residential areas and stick to cities, because actually getting a street level view of where I should end up has crtainly saved my ass several times.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Reaperducer (871695)
        Your proposal makes no sense. Millions of people live in cities. If someone uses Google Street View to find a particular Best Buy, they will also find my home, since the Best Buy is on the first floor and there are offices and residences above it.
        • The proposal makes no sense because I was trying to accomodate people who have a problem with pictures taken by a bigass van with 360deg cameras on top. It's not like ninjas are sneaking around or anything.

      • Why is someone who lives in the city not worthy of protection unlike everyone else? Some people live beside shops and museums. Do they not deserve online privacy?

        A lot of crime is committed by drug users, the homeless, etc. These aren't people that research their next hit online. These are people that wake up needing a fix and get straight into stealing form shops and homes. I've volunteered at a homeless charity and I can assure you most of the people breaking into homes just do it. A lot of them prefer
    • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:47AM (#29155715)

      The thing is, no one cares about your lawn.

      The problem with the whole street view debate is that it's nothing that isn't seen.... from the street.... by every commuter. But because it's on the internet, it's somehow special now.

      • No. It's because it is one time frame standing there forever.

        Imagine they make a photo just in that moment where you look stupidest or are jacking off and you can see it trough the window... or BOTH... with a child coming around the corner *just* at that moment.

        Now usually, it's forgotten quickly, so it's a bit of shame maybe, and you're good again.

        But on the net, it stays there forever. This blocks the natural mechanism of forgiveness of the human society. Every time someone looks at the picture, it's fres

        • Yes ... let's get rid of something useful to a large portion of society just so a few people that might suffer from being .. oh, I don't know .... stupid?? ... aren't impacted.

          I use street view all the time. I use it to plan motorcycle rides so I know where the exits to a gas station are in relation to turn lanes. I've used it to look at neighborhoods before I buy a house so I don't waste my time having to go there with the realtor. I've used it to see where the ATM is at a bank so I know which entranc
        • But on the net, it stays there forever.

          The photo doesn't "stay around forever". You can ask Google to remove photographs that portray you in a bad light.

          That's the problem here. Like an elephant in the room.

          If you're jacking off in front of your window without curtains, well, geez, that's a problem. In fact, it's probably a misdemeanor.

          Google accidentally taking a picture of it and putting it on the web until you ask them to remove it is not a problem. In fact, they probably aren't even obligated to rem

          • The photo doesn't "stay around forever". You can ask Google to remove photographs that portray you in a bad light.

            Why should I have to ask Google to remove a picture of me?
            They should have to ask before publishing it in the first place.

            • So if I want to take a picture of something outdoors and post it online, you want me to ask every person who may be in the picture in advance of doing so? Or does it just bother you because Google's doing it?
      • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @02:51PM (#29156845)

        But because it's on the internet, it's somehow special now.

        Someone in the street randomly walking past your house is a momentary, transient thing. Any observations are made incidentally by a single person, if they happen to be looking at all, which most people won't anyway because they'd feel a bit embarassed if they were caught peering in through someone else's window.

        Google is a commercial organisation, systematically collecting high resolution images of an entire area while the people doing it are safely hidden away inside a car and then storing those images in a permanent, searchable database that is accessible to anyone.

        Can you really not see the difference between these two scenarios?

        Google have always pushed the boundaries of what is reasonable behaviour in terms of data mining, but I think this time they have clearly gone too far and they're about to start feeling the resistance that has been brewing for a while now. Countries are trying to prohibit their actions by law. Perhaps more telling, whole villages of normal people are turning out to physically block the car because they don't want it spying on them. Google are even failing the obvious reasonable behaviour test of "Would people think it was acceptable if those Google staff went up to every home in person and took a high res camera shot through the front window?" Are you seriously claiming that if someone walked up to the front of your home in person and started snapping away through all your windows, maybe a shot down the side to where your kids are playing, noting down your car registration, and so on, you would have no problem with that? I suppose that's possible, but I think you're in a very small minority if that's true.

        As usual, the law is not keeping pace with technology, but in an era of mass communication and enormous databases, we really do need to make sure we get serious privacy/personal data protections enshrined in law in the very near future. Very bad stuff is already happened to far too many people, and it's only going to get worse if governments and megacorps are allowed to continue on their quest to turn every citizen's life into rows in a database.

        • by Toonol (1057698)
          Someone in the street randomly walking past your house is a momentary, transient thing. Any observations are made incidentally by a single person, if they happen to be looking at all, which most people won't anyway because they'd feel a bit embarassed if they were caught peering in through someone else's window.

          It would be perfectly legal for the kid walking down the street to photograph the front of your house, even if he could see you in the window dancing to "old time rock and roll" in your underwear
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        It IS somehow special now.

        While it's true anyone can walk by and see a house, thereby making the outside public, not all houses have the same expected "audience". For example, I live in Chicago. I have zero expectations of privacy on the outside of my unit, because I'm surrounded by 3 million other people.

        However, if I move to a tiny town of 20,000 people, I expect the total number of "views" that my house gets will drop substantially. There's an expectation that on a given day, I might not have mo
        • by Nuskrad (740518)
          But I'm sure if you looked at the statistics, the total number of views on Street View would be in similar proportions. Most people use street view for either exploring landmarks, looking at their own property and area, or looking at an area they're planning to visit to get a feel for the place. Not many people are going to be looking at random properties in small towns.

          So while it's trivial for millions of people to view your house, it's unlikely they will.
    • by RickRussellTX (755670) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:55AM (#29155761)

      (1) Why is it a problem when Google takes photos of your house? (2) What is your expectation of privacy regarding the portions of your property visible from a public street? (3) You say it's creepy when individuals put up pictures of your house. Has that happened? Have you tried to find out? If not, can you truly say that it is important to you?

      This back-and-forth regarding publicly visible portions of private property is a huge mess. Either something is viewable from the street and therefore fodder for general photography, or its not. This singling out of Google is only going to create an unbearable enforcement mess when the next prima-donna Barbra Streisand type decides that they want to sue every tourist, amateur photographer and real estate company who might have *DARED* publish photos including some corner of their property.

      • by Reaperducer (871695) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @12:17PM (#29155891)

        It's only really messy in other parts of the world (In this case, Switzerland.) In the United States the courts have long ruled, and it is well established that pretty much anyone can take pictures of your home if they want as long as they're on public property (sidewalk, street, park, etc...) They can also take pictures of YOU if you are in public. Shock! Horror!

        The problem is that Google caves in to the requests of amateur lawyers who have threatened to sue Google over publishing pictures of their homes or faces in Street View. From Google's point of view, it's easier and cheaper to blur things out. But from a public policy and rights perspective, it would have been better for the American people long-term if Google actually started fighting and winning these suits in order to shut the nutjobs up. If you don't want people to see you -- stay inside. If you don't want people to photograph your house, build a wall or buy out the neighbors to construct a massive lawn.

        Of course, it isn't Google's job to fight these kind of fights. That's what newspapers are for, and is an example of the constant legal battles that newspapers are (mostly silently) fighting in court to protect the rights of the average American. Of course, then Google leeches the newspaper's content and makes money off of it, but that's a different argument.

        And before I get a bunch of IANALs responding to this post, let me just say STFU. It's my job to know these sorts of things. Unless you're a lawyer or a judge who disagrees with all the briefings I've had with some of the nation's top attorneys on just this kind of matter, don't bother to respond.

        • Overall, pretty good post. But, you kinda screwed it up with "Of course, it isn't Google's job to fight these kind of fights. That's what newspapers are for,"

          We are all aware that the world is changing. If it weren't TFA wouldn't even be a postable story.

          The traditional newspapers are losing ground. They are losing readership, and they are losing revenues. (You might argue the "losing readership" - that's really subject for another discussion) Newspapers are still pretty powerful, but they are losing p

        • by speedtux (1307149)

          The problem is that Google caves in to the requests of amateur lawyers who have threatened to sue Google over publishing pictures of their homes or faces in Street View.

          Google is a business. Having pictures of people in compromising situations hurts their reputation and it makes Google Streetview potentially offensive to their users. That's why they remove pictures even though the law doesn't technically require them to. That's not "caving in", it's a sound business decision.

          It's my job to know these sort

        • by Toonol (1057698) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @03:11PM (#29156949)
          Perhaps google is removing those images upon request, not because it's worried about the lawsuit, but because it's simply polite? Sometimes companies do things for other reasons than for absolute legal necessity. Sometimes for PR... sometimes because an employee actually is NICE.

          Of course, it isn't Google's job to fight these kind of fights. That's what newspapers are for, and is an example of the constant legal battles that newspapers are (mostly silently) fighting in court to protect the rights of the average American. Of course, then Google leeches the newspaper's content and makes money off of it, but that's a different argument.

          That's not a newspaper's job; it's job is just to report facts. Activism on the part of newspapers is generally detrimental. It's the citizen's job to fight for rights.

          And before I get a bunch of IANALs responding to this post, let me just say STFU. It's my job to know these sorts of things. Unless you're a lawyer or a judge who disagrees with all the briefings I've had with some of the nation's top attorneys on just this kind of matter, don't bother to respond.

          Wow, you're an ass. Specifically, you are thinking that the only relevant issue is the legal issue. It's not... although the lawyers and judges have probably told you it is.
        • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @03:25PM (#29157041)

          But from a public policy and rights perspective, it would have been better for the American people long-term if Google actually started fighting and winning these suits in order to shut the nutjobs up. If you don't want people to see you -- stay inside.

          So where do you draw the line? Can I follow you around? Can I record everywhere you go? Can I watch over your shoulder while you type your PIN, and photograph your credit card number when you take it out of your wallet and it is momentarily visible? Can I systematically record who you spend your time with, when you and your family are out of your home, how your kids go to school, what routes you drive and the details of your car? What about using high-res video equipment and listening devices to monitor what's happening inside your home from outside? How about I publish your entire life, and those of your family and friends, everything I can observe from public places, using any modern technology I can lay my hands on, on-line for all to see?

          I wish someone had tried to do that to fools like Scott "Privacy is dead, deal with it" McNealy. It would made a nice demonstration of the hypocrisy when his expensive security people and/or the police had intervened, particularly if any sort of privacy or harassment laws were used to justify the intervention.

          Unless you're a lawyer or a judge who disagrees with all the briefings I've had with some of the nation's top attorneys on just this kind of matter, don't bother to respond.

          Yes, I definitely believe that someone who wrote a post like that on a forum like Slashdot is a high-flying legal eagle, and furthermore that my own ethics should be completely dictated by the legal system in your jurisdiction, and I'm sure everyone else here agrees that we should just take your word for it.

          Oh, sorry, wait: your listed homepage is for a company that makes money from photographing buildings. I'm sure you're not biased at all, then.

          • What planet are you on? Street view is nothing like you describe, and believe it or not there is ample case law and precedent to separate candid photography taken for purposes of journalism, hobbies, and reference from deliberate harassment. That legal distinction is not hard to make.

      • by Psyborgue (699890)
        I wish I had mod points.
      • 1) Why is it a problem when Google takes photos of your house?

        Because they're going to publish those pictures online for millions, nay, billions of people to gawk at. You forget the scope of this.

        (2) What is your expectation of privacy regarding the portions of your property visible from a public street?

        My expectation is that only people who are on the street right now, will be able to see those portions. My expectation is that most people are not more than twelve feet tall.

        (3) You say it's creepy when individuals put up pictures of your house. Has that happened? Have you tried to find out? If not, can you truly say that it is important to you?

        This is Google we're talking about, not your local auctioneer. Their stated objective is to put the entire world up on Street View and danm in they have the ability to do so. Is my house up their? I honestly don't don't know as I've never used the danm thing. But I have seen enough Street View photographs to know that I never want to see my house up there.

        You might be OK with the concept and execution of Google Street View. However, a lot of people most certainly are not happy. We don't want our houses plastered up on an easily indexed, location linked, photography database. We don't want twelve foot high cameras taking snapshots over our front lawn hedges.

        Either something is viewable from the street and therefore fodder for general photography, or its not.

        You're like someone arguing that ice cannot turn into water because you see no change while examining the individual molecules. The issue here has never bee the photographs themselves. It's been what Google is doing with them. You've inductively scaled up individual rights and freedoms into the monstrosity that is Street View. But of your logic here is valid, where is this going to end? What happens when Google decides to put your entire personal public history up on its very own page in the new Google Identity? Is that right?

        No. Rights do not scale up. You cannot inductively grant rights, house photograph by house photograph, until someone has an indexed database of every home on earth and proceeds to publish it. True, you cannot find the one house, the one step in the process, where the enterprise became definitely wrong. But the result is wrong all the same. Like a phase change of matter, Google Street view took rights and concepts that were solid, and make them first watery and then entirely vaporous. You can't see this by looking at individual atoms, the houses being added, only by looking at the big picture.

        Street View is wrong. Arguing about my house, or your house, is as pointless as arguing about raindrops in a thunderstorm. We are talking about everybody's home now. And no one has the right to do what Google is doing with them.

        • Because they're going to publish those pictures online for millions, nay, billions of people to gawk at.

          What a load of shit.

          Unless you live in a famous area (and therefore deal with a lot of people in person gawking at your area) then the odds of anyone outside of locals looking at your stupid little street are almost nil.

          Seriously, why in god's name would anyone want to look at. for example, Blunt Street, Clay Center Kansas? Who wil evne know it exists? This idea that things appearing on the internet automatically get viewed by everyone is just fucking retarded.

          There is loads of stuff that goes unle

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by johnlcallaway (165670)
          1) Put up a bigger fence, or get a smaller ego and realize no one gives a shit about your house.
          2) Hmm...interesting expectation. Since it's completely unreasonable, I think we can all ignore it. Newspapers and TV stations can also include your house when that murder next door takes place. Don't believe me?? I live in a quiet, suburban area and a lady two doors down committed suicide by cop. My house was all over the news. Good thing I'm not selling it right now.
          3) You've never looked at your house
        • by speedtux (1307149)

          Because they're going to publish those pictures online for millions, nay, billions of people to gawk at. You forget the scope of this.

          Well, if you're in the US, you should just get used to it, because it's legal and it's going to stay legal.

          And Google is only the tip of the iceberg: your house will be photographed and geoindexed by your neighbors, your city, prospective buyers, many other mapping services, robots, navigation systems, and all that information will be on the Internet.

          Street View is wrong. [..

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RickRussellTX (755670)

          You might be OK with the concept and execution of Google Street View. However, a lot of people most certainly are not happy. We don't want our houses plastered up on an easily indexed, location linked, photography database.

          And it's going to happen anyway, with or without Google. I've posted hundreds of geolocated photos in Earthscape and Picasa. More will come. In 5 or 10 years, perhaps every photographable thing on earth will have at least one geolocated, maps-searchable photo pointing at it.

          You're worri

        • I'm torn. I get what you're saying, and I feel somewhat like you feel. If Google drives by in the morning while I'm walking past the window naked, between turning the coffee pot on and hitting the shower, that's not cool. For me to not even know that happened, nor have a way to remove that image is terrible. But...

          I just moved 1000 miles, half-way across the country. Between the demands of my current job, and the financial issues with flying that distance more than once, I had one shot to find a pla

    • by speedtux (1307149)

      but while it's not "evil", if an individual person (rather than a computerised camera car) put photos up of my house it's plain creepy.

      There are plenty of reasons to take pictures of your house. For example, I might be considering buying in the same neighborhood, I might want sales comps, I might want to show your landscaping or architecture to my architect, or I might want to report you for zoning violations.

      And there are plenty of reasons for mapping sites to take pictures of your house and publish it.

      • by foobsr (693224)
        If you don't want it to be seen by the public, build a fence.

        And as it virtually does not matter to you if your location is depicted, how does it come that you seem to be offended if he wants to put up a virtual fence?

        CC.
        • by RickRussellTX (755670) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @12:33PM (#29155981)

          Because if the actions of individuals are constrained by fear of lawsuits, then nobody will take pictures, and applications of photographic and mapping technology will likewise be constrained. Sure, now he complains about Google. Next time it will be local realty system, then the city's map of water and sewer lines ("you can see the right rear tire of my car in this picture!"), then some poor guy's photostream on Flickr, etc.

          I've used Street View to look at pictures of a destination -- including other people's residences -- PLENTY of times. It's absolutely invaluable to get the lay of the area, identify parking, etc before going out there, and reduces the likelihood of an accident or a traffic ticket. Realizing that the main parking entrance to a facility is on Beta Street when its mailing address is on Alpha Drive is fantastically useful information that saves me time and makes me safer.

          And *it does not collect any information that is not easy visible from the street*. As a matter of principle, publishing photos taken on a public street should have no a priori restrictions.

        • by speedtux (1307149)

          It's not about his house, it's about protecting the right to photograph and publish those photographs, which is an essential right in a democracy.

    • There has always been enough information available about you online if people really wanted it. A lot of it is provided by the government with public records. A picture of your house isn't going to change the world and for all you know, I've taken pictures of your house and even put them on stealthisguysstuff.com.

      I don't like the idea of a precedent being sent that says I have to be careful about taking pictures in public because some sissy is afraid of his house being in a picture online.

      Street view
  • Don't Worry (Score:5, Funny)

    by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:39AM (#29155657)
    Google is your friend, so nothing to worry about! Google is your friend!
  • by RickRussellTX (755670) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:46AM (#29155709)
    Do you mean people walking down the street with a camera might photograph cars or faces? Or see things through a transparent material? And those same people could publish pictures on the Internet for any reason! They are history's greatest monsters. Well, I'm going to go live in a cave where this sort of thing can't happen. Who will think of the children? [penny-arcade.com]
  • by speedtux (1307149) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:51AM (#29155745)

    Anybody can snap pictures on public streets and put them on the Internet. Cameras are increasingly geotagging them, so soon, anybody will be able to find pictures of anything by location anyway, whether Google drives around in a car or not.

    • by Psyborgue (699890)
      One would assume by the precedent set by the Swiss those activities would also become prohibited.
      • by speedtux (1307149)

        The Swiss can do that for servers and businesses located in Switzerland; they have no jurisdiction over what happens outside Switzerland. The only reason Google talks to them is because Google wants to do business in Switzerland.

        Also, given how much Switzerland depends on tourists, banning publishing of geolocated photographs would be rather bad for their economy.

        Switzerland really has a choice: paranoid privacy-obsessed police state or relaxed and open tourist paradise. They can't be both.

        • Dont be silly (Score:4, Interesting)

          by omb (759389) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @07:15AM (#29162489)
          Having laws that protect peoples privacy is not a police state, and the polizei here are much more polite, and reasonable, than they are in the US, as they report to the geminde leadership or the Kanton.

          The privacy officer is making a corporation abide by its agreements, which would also be a good thing in the USA.
  • by Psyborgue (699890) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:57AM (#29155781) Homepage Journal
    Where does it stop? Does this mean just about anybody can be forbidden from publishing pictures of things visible from the public eye? I can see a danger of this sort of thing being applied very selectively.
    • Well, in civilized countries, you have to ask people for permission, before recording anything of them. Audio, video, pictures, etc.
      Which is usually not a problem. You nicely ask, and they're OK with it.
      The point is that you have to ask.

      It's an extension of the basic right to have control over your own body.

      This is also, why such material is not allowed in court when there was no permission.

      • by Psyborgue (699890)

        Well, in civilized countries, you have to ask people for permission, before recording anything of them. Audio, video, pictures, etc. Which is usually not a problem. You nicely ask, and they're OK with it. The point is that you have to ask.

        Free speech (taking a picture and publishing it) trumps your right to privacy in public places (none). And no, you don't have to ask under US law (civilized country) to record somebody, even without their consent, unless it's a conversation with an expectation of privacy and the state's law prohibits it. Details here [rcfp.org].

        It's an extension of the basic right to have control over your own body.

        I completely agree. But how does taking a picture of you in public interfere with that, exactly? You own your own body, I understand, but you don't own my interpretation or representation o

      • It's an extension of the basic right to have control over your own body.

        Don't confuse the symbol with the thing symbolized. You have control over your body and a legal right to assert that control. You do not have control over pictures that include your body, or a legal right to assert that control, although control has been granted in certain commercial circumstances.

        Your body and a picture are actually different things, they are not the same thing.

        you have to ask people for permission... This is also, why

  • Why don't they just use Google's opt-out feature [theonion.com].
    • Why don't they just use Google's opt-out feature.

      Tell me why - when the shoe is on the other foot - the geek will settle for nothing less than "opt-in."

      • by krou (1027572)
        The link I posted is actually meant as a joke. :)
      • Tell me why - when the shoe is on the other foot - the geek will settle for nothing less than "opt-in."

        Because geeks understand some of the basic subtleties of privacy? If someone wants to do something that requires the use of private resources I own or control -- like my personal phone or e-mail -- then it's reasonable for them to ask before they expend those resources.

        If someone wants to take a photograph in a public place, which by definition is not private, and requires nothing from me, then I'm not a s

  • by phayes (202222)
    This is a clear reprisal for the US cracking open the treasured Swiss banking secret in order to dry up terrorist cash pipelines & catch deadbeat US tax dodgers. I think the US should still have pushed for total transparency in the Swiss banking sector. Swiss bankers have absolutely no compunction in taking your cash no matter how much blood it may have on it.
    • by Psyborgue (699890)
      And then that banking will go to the Caymans. Like it or not such things always have and always will exist.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by maxume (22995)

      So the Swiss government is requiring Google to deny a service to people in Switzerland in retaliation for settlements that will cost Swiss banks hundreds of millions of dollars?

      I'm sure the U.S. government is fine with that.

  • Why is it... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Vahokif (1292866) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @12:31PM (#29155963)
    Why is it that Street View is OK but CCTV in Britain is bad? Both only see what anyone on the street could see. You don't have an expectation of privacy in public.
    • by arethuza (737069)
      Stop trying to confuse us with that liberal "logic" thing.
    • When I first saw this story, I thought, wow do the swiss people never travel to London? Every move they make is recorded and analyzed. Frankly, it would not surprise me if inside switzerland's large cities they record.

    • Re:Why is it... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Psyborgue (699890) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @01:18PM (#29156277) Homepage Journal
      Because you can track people in realtime with CCTV. You can keep tabs on anybody or everybody at once. Because if you ever have to overthrow a government that becomes oppressive you're screwed.
    • Because too many of those neo-feudalists are convinced that private companies would never do something evil, only government does. Even when you show them some proof of the contrary.

      • by Psyborgue (699890)
        Both do, but the difference is that private corporations have no direct authority over you. So go ahead living in the illusion that the government has your best interests at heart, power never corrupts, and society is better off when individual liberty is sacrificed for the arbitrary "greater good" du jour.
    • They're both NOT OK. At least by law in civilized countries. Here you have to ask before taking a picture of someone. At least when it's not clearly visible.

      That's why there are those "warning camera" signs. That's why it's not allowed in court without permission. That's why you ask someone in an interview if you can record the audio, before actually doing so.

      You always have a right to your own body. Your statement is deliberately false and borders to criminality.

      • by Psyborgue (699890)
        What country do you live in that restricts your ability to record what you see and publish what you see in public so severely? Please. I'd like to make a note to never ever live there. You have a right to your own body, yes, but that right is not infringed by my taking a photo and does not trump my discretionary use of free speech by publishing that photo (which, depending on who you are, I might have very good reason to do so).
    • by SheeEttin (899897)

      Why is it that Street View is OK but CCTV in Britain is bad?

      Because unlike CCTV, Google doesn't watch you.
      They take one still every few feet. Basically the same as a person driving by. Britains cameras watch you. ALL THE TIME. It's like someone hovering over you 24/7.

  • by TheMCP (121589) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @12:48PM (#29156071) Homepage

    Advice for Google:
    Switzerland wants not to have street view in their country? Give them what they want. Turn it off. Don't spend another dime on it. Every time someone tries to use the feature for switzerland, put up a notice that says "Street view is blocked for this country by order of the Swiss government." And then wash your hands of it. You don't have to spend any more money on delivering a perfectly reasonable feature when the government wants to give you a hard time about it, and they don't get to have enjoyment of the service after they've been pissy about it. Maybe then other countries will be slightly more reasonable about your services when they recognize that if they give you too hard a time about things, you'll make sure their population knows *precisely* why they can't get the same level of service that people in every other country can.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mccalli (323026)
      Thing is, they clearly don't find it perfectly reasonable. I must say I have misgivings about it also. So we agree - give 'em what they want, turn it off. It's just that it seems we have come to the same conclusions for entirely different reasons.

      Cheers,
      Ian
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Score Whore (32328)

      Are you for real? Consider this:

      Person A: "I don't want this cookie. Take it off my plate."
      Person B: "OK. Fine. I'll take it off your plate and then you won't be able to enjoy it. That'll show you."

      You know that you aren't really punishing anyone by taking away something they have explicitly said they don't want?

      • by ianezz (31449)

        You know that you aren't really punishing anyone by taking away something they have explicitly said they don't want?

        Since when does "through elected representatives" mean "explicit"?

      • by Psyborgue (699890) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @01:28PM (#29156349) Homepage Journal

        No. It's more like this:

        Person A: "I demand with the authority endowed to me by a 51% majority (compared to the other bad choice) that you no longer sell cookies to anybody in my group because I am all powerful and all knowing and speak for all of them, including the minority that have no individual liberty! Cookies are bad! Muahahahahah!"

        Person B: "ok, fine, but i'll be sure and tell the next customer who asks for cookies why they can't have any and what an asshole you are!"

    • Advice for Google:

      Switzerland wants not to have street view in their country? Turn it off. Don't spend another dime on it. [Put] up a notice that says "Street view is blocked for this country by order of the Swiss government." And then wash your hands of it. Maybe then other countries will be more reasonable about your services when they recognize that if they give you too hard a time about things...

      And just maybe the party that stands up to Google will find itself in control of the cantons and the Federal

  • It only blurred 1/3 of the people in this image: 3 Guys in Geneva [google.com]
    • by Psyborgue (699890)
      It's still pretty blurry being so far away from the camera. I doubt if you could identify them based on those photos.
    • Whats funny is how it blurred the faces in the advertisement, but not the real people.

Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.

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