Swiss court grants Google margin of error with Street View, except for sensitive areas

GENEVA – Switzerland’s supreme court has partly overturned a ruling that would have forced Google to guarantee absolute anonymity for people pictured in its popular Street View service.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal says Google’s automatic blurring of faces and license plates can have a 1 per cent margin of error except in sensitive areas such as schools, hospitals and courts.

But the tribunal upheld the Federal Administrative Court’s ruling last year that Google must stop publishing pictures of private gardens taken with cameras positioned above head height.

Google welcomed the ruling in a statement Friday but left open whether it would now withdraw its threat to remove all pictures of Switzerland from Street View.

The service allows users to take virtual tours of cities and towns in dozens of countries around the world.