We’ve talked about Google’s problems across the pond, including a French court’s ruling that the “suggest” feature pulled up defamatory words to an Italian court’s convicting three execs of a privacy violation. Well now Italy is at it again with a ruling from its Privacy Authority that will require Google Street View cars, which take photos of locations for the Google Maps feature, to be clearly and obviously marked and also give the targeted community three days’ notice before transmitting any images.
The warnings are to be published in at least two local newspapers and broadcast on radio stations so people know the Google cars will be in the area; for larger cities, the sections of the city to be photographed must be noted. The fines for violation of the provisions range from 30,000 to 180,000 euros per violation.
“There has been strong alarm and also hostility in a lot of European countries against Google taking photos,” said Privacy Authority President Francesco Pizzetti, who noted that complaints have even come from local administrations.
An article in Italian newspaper La Stampa recounts the story of a couple in Naples who separated after the wife saw her husband standing at a window that wasn’t hers via Google Maps; the husband turned to the Privacy Authority for redress.
Pizzetti acknowledged that “Street View could represent a very useful tool in the tourism sector, allowing people to see vacation locations and help them choose and plan their trips. But it’s also true that there could be an excessive invasion of privacy of citizens, which is why there must be some established regulations.”
According to Reuters, Google only recently admitted that its Street View cars “had accidentally collected more personal data than previously disclosed” in yet another brush with privacy concerns of private citizens.
Earlier this year, the Third Circuit found that Google Street View did not violate any privacy rights when a Street View driver entered a private driveway and snapped photos of a home and pool that later appeared on the Internet.
What do you think about Google Street View?