Google has paid a fine of 1 million euros ($1.4 million) to the Italian privacy regulator, Data Protection Authority (DPA), over its Street View service, that gives a panoramic perspective of streets around the world.
The Italian regulator group has accused Google’s Street View cars of violating citizens’ privacy by taking photos without their knowledge and permission.
Italians have complained that these vehicles were not sufficiently identifiable and they had no way of knowing they were being photographed and therefore they could not avoid being captured on film.
The Italian Data Protection Authority, in a statement said “Cars belonging to the giant of Mountain View roamed Italy’s streets without being entirely recognizable as such therefore not allowing the people present in those places to decide whether to be photographed or not.”
In addition to the million-euro fine, Google has agreed to clearly label Street View cars and to announce publicly when and where its cars will visit.
Google said that its Street View cars will now be marked with signs or stickers. Also the intended locations of the cars will be revealed on the company’s website, three days in advance. A similar notice will be published in at least two local newspapers and circulated through radio stations for each of the regions visited.
A spokeswoman from Google, in an interview with Reuters, said “The fine from the DPA relates to an old case that dates back to 2010. We complied with everything the (regulator) required of us at the time.”
However, this is not the first instance for Google battling with overseas regulators. Google has already faced numerous privacy lawsuits in the US and Europe, relating to its services including Street View.
The company was also fined 145,000 euros last year by a privacy regulator in Germany for inadvertently intercepting emails, user names, passwords and other data from Wi-Fi networks while taking photographs for Street View.