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Google Faces Fine for ‘Gross Invasion of Privacy’ in the UK, Italy Orders to ‘Mark Street View Cars’

Google UK is potentially facing a substantial fine from the inadvertent capture of personal information during Street View WiFi data collection.

Britain’s Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, announced that he’s launching a new investigation into the Street View project, in which Google sent cars around photographing residential streets. In the process, they “mistakenly” collected entire emails and passwords from privately owned computers connected to wireless networks.

The breach of privacy has infuriated campaigners who say that Google shouldn’t have embarked on the exercise in the first place.

Six months ago, Mr Graham was granted new powers by the outgoing Labour government, including the authority to ability fines of up to £500,000 for breaches of privacy. Mr Graham hasn’t yet imposed a fine because the commonest offenders against privacy rules are government agencies, such as NHS trusts, so a fine would simply transfer money from one branch of the state to another. Britain’s Independent reports.

And, in Italy, Italy’s privacy regulator has told Google it’ll 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.

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