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Google Streetview Cars will have to be clearly marked

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Google Streetview Cars will have to be clearly marked
Citizens will know when Google Cars will be out and about in their neighbourhoods

Italian citizens will be informed of the presence of Google Cars taking pictures of places and individuals to be posted online via the Streetview service.

This is the request made by the Italian DPA to Google in its decision, which demands the provision of detailed information on the routes followed by Google cars to enable citizens to freely decide what to do and possibly prevent the “capturing” of their images – e.g. by moving away from the areas to be imaged. The Italian DPA is the first one in Europe to lay down these specific requirements against the Mountain View company in order to afford effective, timely information to citizens. Fines are envisaged in case of non-compliance.

Google cars will have to be clearly marked by means of visible stickers or signs to unambiguously signify that pictures are being taken for the purposes of Streetview. Google Inc. was also required to disclose, on its website, the locations its cars are scheduled to visit at least three days in advance of the respective dates. Whenever large cities are concerned, Google will have to specify the individual areas (neighbourhoods) to be covered by its cars. A similar notice will have to be published by Google on the local news section of at least two newspapers and also broadcast via a local radio in each Region.

The Italian DPA found the information currently made available by Google on its website to be utterly insufficient, as it only includes generic references to the cities where the cars are expected to be in a few hours’ time along with a scanty information notice.

This decision by the Italian DPA takes account of the many complaints lodged by citizens who did not wish to be displayed on the online pictures. The Italian DPA also established that the data processing performed for the purposes of Google Streetview falls under the scope of application of the Italian DP Code, since the service in question is performed by means of equipment (cars, cameras, etc.) located in Italy.

Google was also required to appoint a representative in Italy. Citizens may turn to the company’s  representative  in order to enforce the protection of their rights.

Failure to comply with the requirements made by the Italian DPA carries a fine of up to Euro one hundred and eighty thousand.

Rome, 25 October 2010