Google's Street View went live in seven Swiss cities recently. Up-to-the-minute close-ups of the arcade-lined streets in Bern's Old Town became available for all the world to see ... along with equally up-close shots of people urinating in alleys.
Whether relieving themselves or simply crossing the street, the faces and license plate numbers of many caught by Google cameras were easily recognisable. As a result, the head of Switzerland's federal data protection watchdog called for Street View's immediate removal just days after the feature went live.
"Numerous reports from the public and our own research show that Google Street View does not respect the conditions that were laid down," Hans-Peter Thur said in a statement that was reported by online news source swissinfo. "Many faces and car numbers have not been blurred, or only insufficiently so."
Google Street View is a function of Google Maps and Google Earth that allows users to zoom way in for an actual street perspective. The photos are taken with advanced imaging technology, from roving Google vehicles.
In the FAQ section of its website, Google states: "We make it easy for users to ask to have...