(Removes line on Google not responding to requests for comment)
MILAN, April 3 Google has paid a 1
million euro ($1.4 million) fine imposed by Italy's data
protection watchdog over complaints that cars it used to record
images on Italian streets in 2010 were not clearly recognisable,
the regulator said on Thursday.
"Cars belonging to the giant of Mountain View roamed Italy's
streets without being entirely recognisable as such, therefore
not allowing the people present in those places to decide
whether to be photographed or not," it said in a statement,
referring to Google's base at Mountain View in California.
Google has faced numerous privacy lawsuits in the United
States and Europe, relating to services including Street View,
which gives a panoramic perspective on streets around the world.
"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 said.
The fine announced on Thursday relates only to vehicles not
being labelled 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.
In September 2013 a U.S. federal appeals court rejected
Google's bid to dismiss a lawsuit accusing it of violating
federal wiretap law when its accidentally collected personal
data while building Street View.
Google was also fined 145,000 euros last year by a privacy
regulator in Germany for inadvertently intercepting emails, user
names, passwords and other data from Wi-Fi networks while taking
photographs for Street View and decided not to contest the fine.
Imposing its higher fine on Thursday, the Italian watchdog
said it took into account the search engine operator's
"consolidated revenue of over $50 billion".
It also said Google had promptly adopted the measures it
requested, including clearly marking the cars used to collect
footage, and broadcasting details of the areas the cars would
visit on its own website and in local media.
($1 = 0.7263 euros)
(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Eric Walsh)