Italy to Google: If You Must Be Creepy, Just Be Obvious About It

Google will have to ensure that its Street View cars are clearly labeled and that their itineraries are published, the Italian paper La Stampa reported Saturday. The decision was handed down by Italy’s privacy regulator, who is demanding that Google announce three days in advance via its website, local papers, and the radio, just which locality its cars will be passing through. (That way, the photo-shy can be sure to put on their pixelated paper-bag masks.)

The decision is part of a wider wave of rebuke Google is facing for the behavior of its Street View fleet. Germany, South Korea, Spain, and Canada have determined that the fleet cars were collecting private information from unsecured wireless networks as they passed–with emails, phone numbers, street addresses, and even medical records among the information harvested. Google says it was an accident, but mistrust still runs high, particularly among the privacy-loving Germans, 250,000 of whom recently requested that Google not post images of their homes online.

“There has been strong alarm and also hostility in a lot of European countries against Google taking photo,” Privacy Authority President Francesco Pizzetti told La Stampa, per Reuters‘s translation. “We have received protests even from local administrations.”

[Image: Flickr user Racum]DZ