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Berlin Court In A ‘Landmark Decision’ Rules Google Street View Is Legal In Germany

A Berlin court has ruled that Google Street View is legal. But that doesn’t mean the lawsuits will end, legal scholars say. The Berlin State Supreme Court (Kammergericht) announced its decision in a court case from late 2010, in which a woman had sued Google, claiming that Street View images of her house violated her property and privacy rights.

The court ruled that it’s legal to take photographs from street level, rejecting her argument that Google was trying to take unauthorized pictures. Part of her argument rested on the fact that Google used cameras mounted at three meters (9.84 feet) high, which could see over her two-meter-high hedge.

However, the court didn’t find this argument convincing, given that the photographs were taken from the street, and not the sidewalk. Furthermore, because Google automatically blurs faces and license plates and did allow Germans to opt-out of the service to have their house obfuscated as well, the court didn’t find any potential violations.

European legal experts called the Berlin ruling a “landmark decision,” saying that this would now become part of German case law regarding property rights.

The case cann’t be further appealed. However according to German legal experts the basis for decision was property rights and not privacy law. Thomas H

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