Google Gets Another Street View Privacy Fine — In Italy

google-street-view-fleet-1343994208It seems like each European country is taking its turn fining Google for some privacy infraction. This time, it’s Italy and involves Street View. Google has reportedly paid a roughly $1.4 million (1 million EUR) fine.

According a story in Reuters, the issue this time was the failure to clearly mark Street View cars during Italian street photography in 2010:

The fine announced on Thursday relates only to vehicles not being labeled clearly enough. 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.

Italian authorities acknowledged, in imposing the fine, that Google has already remedied the problem and is no longer in violation.

Google also previously suffered a fine of 145,000 EUR (roughly $189,000) in Germany for privacy violations associated with Street View. Elsewhere in Europe, Google has been fined over other types of privacy violations, as in France recently for violating French privacy rules with its “unified” privacy policy.

In announcing the fine, Italian privacy authorities also discussed the capture of private electronic communications as part of the Street View photography. That issue is at the center of a class action lawsuit in the US that alleges Google violated the so-called Federal Wiretap Act when it captured private email and other communications during Street View canvassing in this country.

Google has filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court seeking an interpretation of the Wiretap Act that would allow the company to escape liability under the “radio communications” exception. That permits “readily accessible” radio communications to be intercepted by third parties without liability.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Legal | Google: Maps & Local | Google: SpyView | Google: Street View | Legal: Privacy | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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