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    New York Times: Privacy Laws Trip Up Google’s Expansion in Parts of Europe

    The New York Times has an interesting story on privacy hurdles that Google is facing as it attempts to expand its business.

    But almost five years into its expansion into Europe — where it has a headquarters in Dublin, large offices in Zurich and London, and smaller centers in countries like Denmark, Russia and Poland — Google is getting caught in a web of privacy laws that threaten its growth and the positive image it has cultivated as a company dedicated to doing good.

    In Switzerland, data protection officials are quietly pressing Google to scrap its plans to introduce Street View, a mapping service that provides a vivid, 360-degree, ground-level photographic panorama from any address, which would violate strict Swiss privacy laws that prohibit the unauthorized use of personal images or property.

    In Germany, where Street View is also not available, simply taking photographs for the service violates privacy laws. […]

    The conflict does not end with Street View, which so far in Europe depicts only major cities in France, Spain and Italy.

    Data protection advisers to the European Commission in Brussels are questioning Google over how long the company retains user logs — the files containing an individual’s queries typed into Google search fields. A panel of regulators wants Google, as well as Yahoo and Microsoft, to purge the records after six months.

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