Italy orders Google to mark Street View cars: report

A camera used for Google street view at the CeBIT computer fair in Hanover, March 2, 2010. REUTERS/Christian Charisius

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s privacy regulator has told Google Inc it will have to make sure its “Street View” photo-collecting cars are clearly marked and their itinerary is publicized, a daily newspaper reported on Saturday.

Under the regulator’s decision, Google has to publish three days in advance on its website, in local newspapers and on radio in which locality, including which area of a large city, the cars will be operating, La Stampa said.

“There has been strong alarm and also hostility in a lot of European countries against Google taking photos. We have received protests even from local administrations,” Privacy Authority President Francesco Pizzetti was quoted as saying.

In September, the authority ordered a block on Google processing “payload data” collected by the cars from wi-fi radio networks after launching an investigation in May.

In a statement provided by a spokeswoman, Google did not confirm the details of the privacy regulator’s decision but said it was in constant contact with the authority about protecting personal data and inform citizens in numerous ways about its cars’ trips.

The authority could not be reached immediately for comment.

On Friday, Google admitted for the first time the Street View cars had accidentally collected more personal data than previously disclosed.

Writing by Nigel Tutt; editing by Patrick Graham