Why the Germans are fussing about Street View

A street in Fuessen, Bavaria - ©iStockphoto.com/trait2lumiereFor several months, one topic has been in the news regularly in Germany: Google Street View.

This has several reasons, but to put it bluntly: Google didn’t ask permission.

Germany has some very strict privacy laws, many of which come as a result of the country’s recent history.  Those residents that lived through the period of the GDR are especially aware of people knowing too much about them.

There are, for example, rules on how photos of people can be used, and until a few years ago, you needed special permission to take an aerial photograph.

But whilst these situations are fairly clear cut and something that every photographer here needs to be aware of, taking a photograph of a building is different.

Many people take the opinion, that you need permission to photograph and then publish pictures of someone’s home.  On the other hand, I know of experts who say that this is not the case.  If taken from a public area, ie. the street, without any form of technical assistance, they say it is not a problem to take that photo and publish it. [Read more…]

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