The Google service that allows virtual exploration of spectacular places is about to arrive in Italy.
At the request of the Mountain View colossus, the Italian Data Protection Authority has given authorization for partial exemption from the obligation to inform the public, but has set strict rules for photo shoots.
The most beautiful places in Italy including beaches, museums, parks and archaeological sites will soon be visitable at a distance thanks to Google Special Collects, a collection of virtual environments devised to popularize the most magnificent corners of the world.
Images are captured with similar equipment to that used for the Google Street View service, but with one difference, namely the special cameras capable of 360 degree shots are not mounted on cars, but on the backpacks of special “trekkers”, that is operators appointed by Google to “map out” places without the use of vehicles.
In their request to the Authority, Google stated that in museums and other places with limited access, recordings would be made during closing times to the public with the aim of limiting accidental filming of visitors and of protecting their privacy. In outdoor locations times will be chosen when passersby are less likely to be encountered. The American corporation will also take action to black out faces and other identification features such as vehicle license plates which might have been recorded, before making the images available on the Google Maps service.
In granting Google partial exemption from informing the public, the Authority has obliged the corporation to take further precautions to protect the public and to implement simplified measures to inform the public of all ongoing filming activities.
In particular, on the three days before beginning recordings, Google will have to publish information on its website in Italian about shooting locations. A further announcement will also have to be posted on websites and any other communication outlets of the organizations involved seven days before filming. In physical locations Google operators will have to see to informing the public of the upcoming recording of images by means of special notices or signs posted at the entrances to sites, in order to allow visitors to exercise their right not to be photographed.
In addition, the “trekkers” who carry photographic equipment will need to be recognized by stickers or other clearly marked distinguishing features to be attached to clothing and equipment, so as to clearly indicate that they are collecting images to be published online on Google Maps through the Google Special Collects service in Street View.
Google will also have to ensure the training of their personnel involved in these operations concerning compliance with the legislation on the protection of personal data.