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back to article Google hands over $1.4m for unmarked Street View cars in Italy

Google has paid up on a million euro fine ($1.4m) from Italy's data protection regulator imposed because its Street View cars weren't recognisable enough to the people they were taking photos of. "The disputed facts date back to 2010 when the giant of Mountain View's cars roamed the streets without being perfectly recognisable …

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Joke

This will make it a lot easier...

For people to photobomb google !

(instead of taking a 'selfie' ,now you can take a 'googlie'...)

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Re: This will make it a lot easier...

without being perfectly recognizable and not allowing, in this way, the people in the paths of "Google Cars" to decide whether or not to moon the camera.

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I don't really get this. How many cars drive around with a gigantic camera array on the roof? Unless it specifically has to say Google on it, as Microsoft has their own cars now.

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Anonymous Coward

How many cars drive around with a gigantic camera array on the roof?

I've come across a couple in London. Not quite sure what they do, I was too busy with other things to pay much attention :)

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@AC

Like me, you seem remarkably unconcerned with 'things happening in a public place about which which you can have no expectation of control or oversight'.

Thanks goodness some people remain unencumbered with stuff like a 'living a life' to find the time to get worked up about such things and complain about them on our behalf.

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I get it. The Reg left missed off some informative scare quotes. Google were fined by the The Italian Data "Protection" Authority.

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Here lies the problem. Were all too busy today to notice the shit that's going on all around us.

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@southpacificpom

But we can always use Google to search for "what happened around me today?"

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Thumb Down

Just another blatant ...

money grab from a country in financial trouble.

How can anyone miss one of those weird looking Google cars - so many people are aware of them these days - even in developing countries.

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Re: Just another blatant ...

1.4 million is nothing for a country. The idea that they do this for money is just silly.

And the fact that they are weird looking is only making it worse when you do not know what it is. And of course there is a lot of people that would not understand what it is. I would be very surprised if more than half the population would recognize a street view car for what it is. Some would probably figure it out in the end, but after staring at if for a minute or so you kind of have lost the time window to get out of it's way.

No, this is quite simple, without me being an expert on Italian law, they have just simply broken the law in some way or another. For instance in my country you have to have permission to put up a camera and you have to put up a sign telling the public that you have done so.* The fine is nothing, neither to the company nor the country. It is just a statement. Could easily have been one dollar, or euro. Same effect.

*Strangely enough though, nobody ever cared about the Street View cars here. A domestic company had done it a year or two earlier and nobody cared then either.

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Fairly recognisable

When I spotted one, it was fairly recognisable:

http://www.wgmnet.co.uk/opel3resize.jpg

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Stop

Google cars are obviously recognizable!?

Some people seem to argue that it's obvious what Google cars are doing and that they are indeed Google cars.

But you might be forgetting the 86 year old Italian lady who hasn't got the faintest notion of what that newfangled strange looking car is for. Or anyone else who might actually not be too in tune to what's happening on the internet and in the tech world.

Argue all you want about the wrongs and rights of Google photographing all this stuff, but please stop presuming that everyone, everywhere know what a Google car looks like and what it's doing.

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Re: Google cars are obviously recognizable!?

By your logic, any company that has taken street pictures using vehicles should cough up the same amount as Google if their vehicles were not marked as required?

What about people with dash-cams?

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Re: Google cars are obviously recognizable!?

People with dash cams don't post the footage online in a universally-searchable form. Google does.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google cars are obviously recognizable!?

People with dash cams don't post the footage online in a universally-searchable form. Google does.

i wouldn't be so sure about that... youtube, flickr, and others come to mind ;)

in fact, i've seen several "road rage" videos posted on these sites that were taken with either dashcams or phonecams... in all cases, they showed that the 'rager' was in the wrong and they generally also felt the effects of karma pretty quickly and quite dramatically ;)

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Re: Google cars are obviously recognizable!?

But the 86 year old Italian lady would obviously know what it was if it had the words Google street view emblazoned across it.

She would, moist likely, have seen the website, which she checks every three days, and known it was visiting before it arrived.

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@DaLo - Re: Google cars are obviously recognizable!?

Wrote :- " the 86 year old Italian lady would obviously know what it was if it had the words Google street view emblazoned across it. [and] and ...would .. have seen the website, which she checks every three days, and known it was visiting before it arrived."

... and, having done all that, and keeping a sharp look-out in all directions, on seeing the Google car approaching in the distance among all the other traffic she could, to avoid her blurred face appearing in the pictures, drop her shopping and make a high speed dash for cover down a dark alleyway she luckily happened to be near at the time.

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Meh

@Tikimon - Re: Google cars are obviously recognizable!?

Wrote :- "People with dash cams don't post the footage online in a universally-searchable form."

Then the ones I've seen on YouTube must be fakes. I thought so; they are so crazy.

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Re: Google cars are obviously recognizable!?

I've seen two unmarked cars with those roof mounted cameras. Question is were they Google?

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Re: Google cars are obviously recognizable!?

I am not sure about Italy, but I imagine that it would be illegal in my country. You have to have permission by any individual before publishing their picture. There are a whole lot of exceptions and probably a lot of fine law to argue over of course. Some of the basics are that it applies for all private situations. In public it is a little more gray. If the individual is the motive and it hasn't a "public interest" (it is quite strict what that is) then it is illegal. If you are passing by in the background or otherwise is not the main motive then it is illegal. Then there are these considerations about whether or not the photograph can be considered harming an individuals reputation or not.

If I am driving past somebody with a dashboard camera and me and my car is possible to recognize and I am picking my nose at that time, then it would be illegal to post it on youtube if you are a Norwegian citizen or located in Norway. If what you really is trying to show is some sort of other event picked up by the camera, then you should try to make me non-identifiable.

The law is a bit messy about all this, and not really made for the new age of cheap, accessible and mobile video equipment, and I do not have a law degree. So I am not 100% sure about the finer points here.

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Re: Google cars are obviously recognizable!? @southpacificporn

"I've seen two unmarked cars with those roof mounted cameras. Question is were they Google?"

And the next question is "Does it matter?" And the one after that is "If yes, why?"

My general opinion is that since people in my country (UK) do not care (and indeed many actively support) surveillance cameras in public places, then they cannot complain about Google, dash cams, or any other cameras in public places. If other populations have different attitudes such that surveillance by all and sundry is not acceptable (and, since I have very little experience of Italy, I do not know if they have lenses pointed at them in shops, on public transport, on the streets), then they can legitimately demand control of e.g. Google.

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Re: Google cars are obviously recognizable!? @ southpacificpom

"I've seen two unmarked cars with those roof mounted cameras. Question is were they Google?"

And the next question is "Does it matter?" And the one after that is "If yes, why?"

My general opinion is that since people in my country (UK) do not care (and indeed many actively support) surveillance cameras in public places, then they cannot complain about Google, dash cams, or any other cameras in public places. If other populations have different attitudes such that surveillance by all and sundry is not acceptable (and, since I have very little experience of Italy, I do not know if they have lenses pointed at them in shops, on public transport, on the streets), then they can legitimately demand control of e.g. Google.

*Edited because I misread your name - I thought the "m" was "rn"! Many apologies :-)

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Anonymous Coward

percentage of internet users

Only 58% of people in Italy use the internet so they really would not know what a Google car is, they probably don't know what Google is either.

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Childcatcher

A man with a red flag should walk in front of each Street View car.

If only The Locomotive Act of 1865 was still on the book, we all would be much safer.

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