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Now the Swiss go after Google Street View

Swiss federal data protection commissioner is complaining that Google Street View is not doing a good enough job of blurring identities, calls for takedown.

Google must be used to having its neutrality questioned by now. However, when the alleged home of neutrality comes after you, perhaps you wonder if all this questioning of your motives is ever going to stop.

Not so long ago, it was the Greeks who decided they weren't too happy with Street View's prying artificial eyes. Now, according to the Associated Press, it's the Swiss who are getting nervous about their much vaunted (and much-profited from) privacy.

Hanspeter Thuer, the federal data protection commissioner of Switzerland, accused Google of not doing enough to blur faces and license plates. And he demanded that "Google immediately take its Google Street View online service off the Internet."

Ah, Switzerland. I have no reason to believe the man on the bike is a member of Parliament. CC Robert Thomson/Flickr

A Google statement to the Associated Press said that the company would discuss the matter further with the authorities in order to "demonstrate our industry-leading applications for protecting the private sphere."

Perhaps the most interesting snippet of this governmental request is that it appears to coincide with the Swiss newspaper NZZ espying a member of Parliament, Ruedi Noser, on Street View in the company of a lady who was not his wife, but was, praise be, his assistant.

Noser's reaction was charming in the extreme: "There is probably no problem for my wife, as you could also recognize my companion in the picture." Somehow, the use of the word "probably" offers a hearteningly realistic view of humanity on the part of the Parliamentarian. I think he will go far with such a sanguine view of the world's workings.

Whenever countries in Europe raise objections such as these, it appears that Google finds an appropriately European solution: discussions and talks, followed, no doubt, by the parsing of a few nuances, until the issue seems to recede from the public eye.

Then the Google eye can happily go back to work.