German citizens may soon have the opportunity to wave at (or dodge) many more cars sporting 15 camera lenses. In a big win for Google, a Berlin court has ruled that the Street View program doesn’t break any of Germany’s laws.
A little refresher for anyone who hasn’t been following along: Germany’s the country in which so many politicians and private citizens expressed concerns about Street View that Google gave them a chance to opt out (a first for the company). About 244,000 people took advantage of the offer, and Google eventually released censored photos of some landmarks and a tourist-oriented town.
Now for the legal matter. Deutsche Welle reported today, “[T]he Berlin State Supreme Court (Kammergericht) announced its decision in a court case from late last year, in which a woman had sued Google, fearing that photos of her, her family and the front of her house would be posted on Google Street View and would thus violate her property and privacy rights.”
Next, the report continued, “The court ruled that it is legal to take photographs from street level, rejecting her argument that Google was trying to take unauthorized pictures. . . . This is the first high-level court ruling, which cannot be appealed any further, regarding Street View since the service debuted in Germany at the end of last year.”
So again, this is an important victory for Google. And, although the specific issues were different, it’s arguably even more significant since French authorities fined Google over Street View today.