March 2, 2010

Google Street View in Germany

I wonder why the federal minister for consumer protection (hopefully a good enough translation for “Verbraucherschutzministerin”) Ilse Aigner has concerns about Street View, because those concerns are completely unrelated to protecting the consumer, because the consumer is the one viewing the images in the browser, and not the person being photographed.

I have no reason to believe that Google Street View is illegal, I see no difference between a photo taken by a company and a photo taken by a single person. If Google Street View were illegal, distribution of every picture taken in the public would have to be considered illegal as well.

And creating laws limiting the height at which the camera is placed to e.g. 1.8 meters sounds like discriminating against persons who are e.g. 1.85 meters (“You’re too tall, you’re not allowed to take a picture”).

More information about this topic can be found on e.g. http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,676616,00.html.

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