Italian Data Protection Authority Decision on Google Street View

Italian Data Protection Authority Decision on Google Street View

Giovanni Maria Riccio is an IP Osgoode research affiliate, a professor of private comparative law at the University of Salerno, and an associate at Mazzetti Rossi e Associate

On October 25, the Italian Data Protection Commissioner issued an interesting decision on Google Street View. Following a similar decision by the German Data Protection Authority, the Italian Authority – after having received several complaints by citizens – has imposed several obligations on the Big G.

First of all, Google cars will have to be clearly marked by means of visible stickers or signs to unambiguously signify that pictures are being taken by Street View. Italian law does not require a specific or written consent by people snapped in the streets or in other public places (such as stadiums, cafes, restaurants, etc.). This means that Google is not expected to collect explicit consents from every individual photographed by Google cars.

However, locations – towns or single areas of large cities – which are scheduled to be visited by Google cars must be published at least three days in advance and this notice must also be broadcast via a local radio and published on the local news section of at least two newspapers.

The decision also held that the Italian Data Protection Code (DPC – Legislative Decree No. 196 of 2003) can be applied to this case, as long as data are collected though equipment located in the Italian territory (pursuant to Article 5 of the DPC). For these reasons, Google will have to appoint a representative established in Italy with a view to application of the Italian legislation on processing personal data.