Google fined 1 million euros for Street View privacy breaches in Italy

By End the Lie

A Google Street View car in Tuscany, Italy (Image credit:  -= Treviño =-/Flickr)

A Google Street View car in Tuscany, Italy (Image credit: -= Treviño =-/Flickr)

Internet giant Google was forced to pay another fine for breaching privacy with their Street View program, this time forking over 1 million euros for violating Italian privacy regulations.

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In 2012, the FCC stated that Google staff actually knew that Street View cars were stealing private information. Still, the U.S. agency cleared Google of wrongdoing.

In 2013, Google agreed to pay $7 million to some 30 states in order to settle the charges surrounding the collection of private data by Street View cars.

In this case, Google will be paying around $1.4 million to Italy, after the country’s data protection watchdog said that the company’s Street View cars were not adequately identified and didn’t give people a choice to avoid having their picture taken.

The cars “roamed the streets without being perfectly recognizable,” according to the watchdog agency, which prevented Italians from being able “to decide whether or not to avoid being photographed,” The Hill reports.

The agency stated that they received many complaints from Italians who did not want to have their likeness captured by Google cameras, but they were unable to make that choice.

The case dates back to 2010, according to a Google statement, which added that the company “complied with everything [the regulator] required of us at the time.”

“The fine announced on Thursday relates only to vehicles not being labeled clearly enough,” Reuters explained. “The watchdog has also reported to Italy’s judicial authorities that Google accidentally captured fragments of electronic communications as part of its mapping research in the country.”

Google was fined 145,000 euros last year by Germany’s privacy watchdog agency for capturing emails, usernames, passwords and other private information from Wi-Fi networks. Google did not contest the fine.

The Italian regulator said that Google promptly implemented the measures they requested, including more clear markings on the Google Street View cars.

Google also broadcast the details of the areas the cars would be visiting on their website and in local Italian media, at the request of the Italian agency, called Garante per la protezione dei dati personali.

Google published their announcements in at least two local newspapers and one local radio station and placed stickers and signs on their cars stating that the images were being collected to be used for Street View.

The fine was calculated by taking into account Google’s “consolidated revenues of over $50 billion,” according to the Italian agency.

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3 Responses to Google fined 1 million euros for Street View privacy breaches in Italy

  1. Jay Kenney April 5, 2014 at 4:03 AM

    Sorry to say, but this is neither surprising, nor surprising: “…according to a Google statement, which added that the company ‘“complied with everything [the regulator] required of us at the time.”’

    “Google was fined 145,000 euros last year by Germany’s privacy watchdog agency for capturing emails, usernames, passwords and other private information from Wi-Fi networks.”

    After all, since “our,” gummint believes this this sordid invasion of privacy is legitimate, why shouldn’t Google. Count on it, folks. We are always being watched. Just because you are paranoid, doesn’ mean someone isn’t out to get you/us. :(

    Reply
  2. JW June 9, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    Google is EVIL

    I abhor google and anything that is google

    Reply
    • Jay Kenney June 9, 2014 at 8:47 AM

      Yeah! ‘Specially now that they are freely turning everything ove to the NSA. Bet THAT was a “sweet-heart-deal,” if there ever was one… ;)

      Reply

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