Google pays $1.4 million fine over Italian Street View snafu

The complaint? Google's Street View cars were not recognizable enough to give people the chance to avoid being photographed, says Reuters.

google-street-view-car.jpg
Google's Street View car Google
Google has been hit by another fine over legal troubles with its Street View project.

The search giant was forced to cough up a fine of 1 million euros ($1.4 million) following a ruling by the Italian Data Protection Authority that its Street View cars were not sufficiently recognizable, Reuters reported on Thursday. As such, Italian citizens may not have known if they were being photographed.

"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," the DPA said in a statement picked up by Reuters.

Google sends its Street View cars around the world to photograph different regions, landmarks, and other sites to include in its Google Maps. The current lineup of Street View cars are easily recognizable with the label "Google Maps Street View" on the doors and a huge camera mounted on the roof.

But the case with Italy harkens back to 2010. And the DPA did say that Google promptly followed its request to correct the problem by clearly marking its Street View cars and using its Web site and local media to alert people to the areas Street View would cover.

"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," a Google spokeswoman told CNET.

Still, Street View has a knack for getting Google into legal trouble. The company has been hit by numerous lawsuits throughout the world over complaints that Street View violates the privacy of local citizens. Google has responded to such complaints by blurring images of people, homes, buildings, and license plates, among other measures.

Google shares are currently trading at $561, a drop of almost eight points since trading started Friday morning. However, the fine may have nothing to do with the drop. Google's stock split on Thursday, a move that has raised some concerns, as described by CNN Money earlier this week.

 

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