But almost five years into its expansion into Europe – where it has a headquarters in Dublin, large facilities in Zurich and London and smaller centers in Denmark, Russia and Poland, among other countries – Google is beginning to bump up against a web of privacy laws that threaten its growth and the positive image it has cultivated as a company dedicated to doing good – its unofficial motto.
In Switzerland, data protection officials are quietly pressing Google to scrap plans to introduce Street View, a mapping service that provides a vivid, 360-degree, ground-level photographic panorama from any address. Swiss privacy law prohibits the unauthorized use of personal images or property.
In Germany, where Street View is also not available, the simple process of taking photographs for the service violates privacy laws.
You don’t say?
Well it isn’t only in Germany and Switzerland where Street View is unwelcome. Chris Salzberg and Global Voices have months of coverage of Japanese dissent concerning Street View in Japan.