Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Google Your Rights Online

German Photog Wants to Shoot Buildings Excluded From Street View 327

Posted by timothy
from the irregular-shoot-'em-up dept.
crf00 writes with this report excerpted from Blogoscoped: "'Spiegel reports that German photographer and IT consultant Jens Best wants to personally take snapshots of all those (German) buildings which people asked Google Street View to remove. He then wants to add those photos to Picasa, including GPS coordinates, and in turn re-connect them with Google Maps. Jens believes that for the internet 'we must apply the same rules as we do in the real world. Our right to take panoramic snapshots, for instance, or to take photographs in public spaces, both base laws which determine that one may photograph those things that are visible from public streets and places.' Jens says that for his belief in the right of photographing in public places, as last resort he's even willing to go to jail. Spiegel says Jens already found over 200 people who want to help out in this project and look for removed locations in Google Street View, as there's no official list of such places published by Google."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

German Photog Wants to Shoot Buildings Excluded From Street View

Comments Filter:
  • Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:47PM (#33310016)

    This doesn't seem to be a "The man is restricting our rights", more of a "people are nicely asking for some attempt at privacy", and this asshole (Jens Best) wants to say "FUCK YOU, I'm going to go against you because I can, even though you were nice enough to ask otherwise"

    • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:51PM (#33310050)
      I doubt that there's a reasonable expectation of privacy involved here. So consequently there is a right involved, whether or not he's an asshole, he does have a point. Previously you could take pictures of pretty much everything in public view.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cappp (1822388)
        But previously those pictures you took of things in public view would most likely end up in some boring slideshow that only you and your unfortunate friends would ever see. Now I can sit here in my boxers on a random Friday night and digitally stroll up and down a random street 3000 miles away. "Public view" was once local, in much the same way public was once "immediate and present." Using google maps in this way makes the entire internet community your viewing public, billions of potential watching eyes w
        • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:04PM (#33310128)
          So? Does it really matter? People really over-analyze things, I'm sure that other people really think that everyone is watching your Twitter feed, the thing is, its all lost in the shuffle, just because someone -can- doesn't mean that someone will. I -could- go look at people's homes in Japan, that doesn't mean I will, just like someone -could- stalk someone using Twitter, but lets face it, no one cares you aren't suddenly so important that someone will spend time looking at your house.

          Unless you are the president or a singer or actor. No one cares.
          • Re:Erm... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by kiwimate (458274) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:05AM (#33310416) Journal

            Ever had a stalker? Sometimes people do care. It can be kind of frightening. Especially for a young woman.

            There's another side to this apart from the legal side. There's the community side, which is to say the common (? or not so much, any more, sadly) courtesy that makes the difference between a narcissist or an outright sociopath and someone who understands that sometimes, just because you can, doesn't trump "this person really doesn't want me to, is upset about it, and you know what, maybe I can have a bit of a heart and say okay".

            This gentleman may have the law on his side, but I would be quite impressed if he took the stance of "I'm going to be a human being and take another person's feelings into account". Call me old-fashioned or idealistic, but I think that may just make the world a better place, in some small way.

            • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Funny)

              by Zerth (26112) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:16AM (#33310462)

              I'd rather have a stalker that hangs out on Google Earth than standing in the bushes.

              • Mmm Zerth, how I love thee.

                Oh wait... that is what you look like naked... nevermind.

                Anyone attractive^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H human around I can stalk?

              • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

                by tehcyder (746570) on Friday August 20, 2010 @05:50AM (#33311758) Journal

                I'd rather have a stalker that hangs out on Google Earth than standing in the bushes.

                Because obviously one can't lead to the other. Not ever. The internet is entirely separate from real life, it's just like one big happy computer game.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Skater (41976)

                  I'd rather have a stalker that hangs out on Google Earth than standing in the bushes.

                  Because obviously one can't lead to the other. Not ever. The internet is entirely separate from real life, it's just like one big happy computer game.

                  So what's the difference, then? I fail to see the additional risk Street View imposes in this situation. It wouldn't be that hard for a stalker to snap a picture just like Street View of whatever the stalker is looking at.

                  Your argument has a "think of the children" ring to it (except it'd be "stalked women" instead of children of course). Please clarify exactly what additional risk is incurred when Street View has taken a picture of a house where a stalkee lives. (Full disclosure: my house and RV hav

            • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Draek (916851) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:46AM (#33310578)

              Huh. And what happens to people's desire for a complete and detailed database of public places rather than one filled with holes "just because"? what happens to the feelings of photographers everywhere that wish to excercise their hobby, their profession, without harrassment from total strangers? why is it only one side that gets to screw over the others' feelings and sentiments? and why does it have to be the one that doesn't have the law on their side?

              Ohh, that's right. Because it's the one you agree with.

              • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

                by T Murphy (1054674) on Friday August 20, 2010 @01:50AM (#33310866) Journal
                People opted out of Google's maps, not being in any picture, ever. This article has nothing to do with amateur photographers pursuing their hobby, but an attempt to force everyone to be included in a commercially created database. This is like making a phone book of unlisted phone numbers. If you want to see what's missing on Google Earth, go see it yourself- just like how you can call an unlisted phone number if you really want to. If someone isn't interested in being included in Street View, chances are you wouldn't care about them if they were included, so I don't see much of a claim of harm being done by people's request for privacy. Keep in mind the people opting out simply contacted Google and were done with it- no harassment involved.

                If people taking personal pictures were being harassed, I would be right with you on this, but this guy is just putting his sense of entitlement ahead of people's wishes. The law doesn't dictate what is right (see copyrights and patents)- sometimes discretion is needed.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Psychotria (953670)

                  If people taking personal pictures were being harassed, I would be right with you on this, but this guy is just putting his sense of entitlement ahead of people's wishes. The law doesn't dictate what is right (see copyrights and patents)- sometimes discretion is needed.

                  Well, that's just it, isn't it. People's "wishes" play no part. I wish people like you didn't post, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be allowed to.

                • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by richlv (778496) on Friday August 20, 2010 @05:10AM (#33311622)

                  if _people_ opt out, i don't think that is an issue. if buildings start opting out, then we do have an issue.

                  the main issue here is the ability to take photos in public places and share them. we've read too many articles about problems with that, and i have been stopped by overzealous home owner for taking a photo of his housenumber (for openstreetmap purposes).
                  public place is a public place. if you want to shield yourself, build a fence that can not be seen through. some people do that, although it looks more like a prison to me.
                  i will argue for privacy, but i will also argue for freedom of photography and sharing.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by painandgreed (692585)

              Ever had a stalker?

              I'm sorry, but if you already have a stalker, who already has your address as well as a detailed knowledge of what your street looks like including the buildings on either side of yours, preventing somebody from posting a picture of your building as seen from the public street is not really going to help you. I'm surprised that even seems like a comforting idea. It much more likely that your stalker would post said photo and you could use that to get a restraining order or press charges

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by apoc.famine (621563)
              Nice strawman.

              Stalking is an issue, and is illegal almost everywhere. Stalking, however, has nothing to do with this. At all. You might as well say that we need to abolish the white pages, because it will allow a stalker to find out where you live. Have to get rid of GPS systems, because stalkers could use them to figure out how to get to you. Abolish digital cameras, because stalkers could use them to take pictures of you, your house, your car, etc.

              You might as well have just slapped a "think of the chi
          • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by wvmarle (1070040) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:07AM (#33310420)

            That I may not be important in your eyes doesn't mean I don't have a right to privacy.

            • That I may not be important in your eyes doesn't mean I don't have a right to privacy when not in public

              Fixed!

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by wvmarle (1070040)

                Even in public there is such a thing as privacy.

                There are restrictions to e.g. making photographs of people and publishing them without permission if that person is the subject of the photograph. There are restrictions on the requirements of producing ID documents. And so there are many more. Walking around a public street doesn't mean there is no such thing as privacy any more.

                There is more to privacy than staying at home with the curtains drawn.

                • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Friday August 20, 2010 @02:15AM (#33310942)

                  http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf [krages.com]

                  Even in public there is such a thing as privacy.

                  True. But it is extremely limited.

                  From the PDF:

                  Members of the public have a very limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public places. Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, restrooms, medical facilities, and inside
                  their homes.

                  Permissible Subjects

                  Despite misconceptions to the contrary, the following subjects can almost always be photographed lawfully from public places:

                  accident and fire scenes
                  children
                  celebrities
                  bridges and other infrastructure
                  residential and commercial buildings
                  industrial facilities and public utilities
                  transportation facilities (e.g., airports)
                  Superfund sites
                  criminal activities
                  law enforcement officers

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by westlake (615356)

            Unless you are the president or a singer or actor. No one cares.

            Unless you have a teenage daughter like Elizabeth Smart. The notion that only celebrities are stalked is nonsense.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Skater (41976)

              Unless you have a teenage daughter like Elizabeth Smart. The notion that only celebrities are stalked is nonsense.

              ...So Elizabeth Smart was abducted with the help of Street View? (No.) So, if it were available, how would Street View have changed the abduction? Made it easier? In what way?

              A lot of these anti-Street View arguments seem to come down to emotions rather than facts. (My house and RV are visible on Street View and have been for several years. I'm okay with it.)

          • Re:Erm... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by c0lo (1497653) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:43AM (#33310572)

            just like someone -could- stalk someone using Twitter, but lets face it, no one cares you aren't suddenly so important that someone will spend time looking at your house.

            It's irrelevant if others cares or not.
            I care, I own the place and I would prefer not to have an image of my home posted on the Internet without my permission. The problem in discussion is: do the fact that I care matters or not? (do I have a right to stop someone making public a photo of my home on the Internet?)

          • by Darinbob (1142669)
            The point is not whether it's legal, or whether it matters, but that this guy is being an asshole just to make a stupid point. It's like he's saying "omg someone wants privacy in the internet age, I will make it my mission to stick my tongue out at them!" In fact, I think this dork actually believes he's doing the world a favor.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Draek (916851)

          surely locals have the right to request their homes not be broadcast to the entire world?

          No, they don't, and that's why projects like this are needed. To remind people that fucking over photographers with paranoia and idiotic boogeymen is NOT a right, and shouldn't be in any society that calls itself Free.

          • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by WillDraven (760005) on Friday August 20, 2010 @01:08AM (#33310690) Homepage

            And it also reminds people that making your house, or secret military base, or corporate headquarters, appear as an unexplained blank spot in an otherwise comprehensive public database draws more attention to you than leaving it there in plain view would.

          • Re:Erm... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by nacturation (646836) * <<nacturation> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday August 20, 2010 @01:16AM (#33310728) Journal

            surely locals have the right to request their homes not be broadcast to the entire world?

            No, they don't, and that's why projects like this are needed. To remind people that fucking over photographers with paranoia and idiotic boogeymen is NOT a right, and shouldn't be in any society that calls itself Free.

            Perhaps this photographer isn't going far enough. How about for every place that asked to have their imagery removed from Google Street View, register a domain name in their address (eg: 1234-Main-Street-Berlin-Germany.de) and have a 24x7 webcam pointed at the front of the house with live streaming video and the ability to browse back through interesting moments via motion sensor timestamps. After all, there's no right to privacy so why not go all the way and allow the entire world to watch someone's house all the time?

        • by russ1337 (938915)

          I'm not sure really how I feel about that, surely locals have the right to request their homes not be broadcast to the entire world? Is there some greater public good I'm not considering?

          Try telling that to all the reporters that gather outside your house after something happens in your neighborhood that attracts their attention...

        • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by severoon (536737) on Friday August 20, 2010 @02:15AM (#33310944) Journal

          Yea, you're right. Even without Google Street View I don't like the idea of someone 3000 miles away being able to just hop on a plane and be looking at my house in a couple of hours. Screw that, ban people from looking at my stuff if they're not from around here.

          But...oh wait. That's stupid.

          Public view is public view. It means anyone, on any given day, can see it. 1 person or 1000 people, what's the difference? Facades are meant to be seen by other people...they're designed for it. I don't have a problem with Google making the deision to be courteous to a few people here and there that don't want their home on there, but if too many people started making that request I hope and expect that they would say, you know, now it's starting to hurt the reason for having it in the first place, so sorry, we're doing away with that and now everything will be visible.

          This isn't about Google's right to collect and show information, either. It's about my right to see it. If I can go there and see it, then I can have a friend with a smartphone show it to me live (iPhone Facetime, for instance) or take a photo and show it to me. If my friend can do it, why can't Google?

          I might just as well say I don't want people to see my face when I go out in public either, but I'm not willing to wear a burqa, so you'll just have to look away to respect my nonexistent right to privacy. It's silliness. Something is either allowed or it's not. This is.

          • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cappp (1822388) on Friday August 20, 2010 @02:56AM (#33311106)
            That's a really good point and I find myself wondering if maybe that comes to the core of my discomfort. Should all public information be so readily available that it doesn’t require even a modicum of effort to access? If you took the time to drive over to my place then sure, look to your heart’s content. Flew a thousand miles? Enjoy harassing the locals for photo opportunities. But just pulling it all up with the click of a button? That seems qualitatively different somehow.

            I guess I'm going slippery-slope on this, and perhaps not thinking rationally, but isn't there value in the idea that some information requires an investment of energy to access. I'm thinking of sex offenders for some reason - there are many good reasons for having publically accessible lists but does that mean that they should be conveniently attached to Google-maps complete with photographs and all contact information? Our laws were constructed without any comprehension of the ease of access the modern day provides nor of the reach purportedly local info has. A lot of public info was deemed public as long as that selfsame public was going to march down to the courthouse, or whatever, and invest effort in their search – that effort almost served as a defence against low level abuse. Maybe I just need to reconsider the idea in its totality – either way you’ve given me something to think about so cheers for that.
      • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cgenman (325138) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:14PM (#33310184) Homepage

        You can still take pictures of everything in public view, and so can Google. And Google is being nice and taking down their own photos if you ask them to. Maybe they got the photo when your son had his car up on blocks. Maybe they happened to photograph you just as you were doing something embarrassing. Maybe you're being stalked, and don't want someone to recognize your car in the driveway. Maybe you're just paranoid.

        Either way, Google is being nice by taking down photographs upon request. This is not a legal requirement, or censorship, or anything like that. Raging against people who ask to have buildings excluded from a commercial map application seems... misplaced somehow.

        • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by trentblase (717954) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:31PM (#33310256)
          This is exactly my thought. As far as I know, nobody is saying you CAN'T post photos of these homes. Google is just being nice and recognizing that some people may not like it. And the homeowners are reasonably taking Google up on the offer to remove photos. This guy is being a dick to those homeowners for the sake of what... documentary completeness?
          • You familiar with your credit report? Do you know why it's not swapped around willy nilly among enterprising entrepreneurs? And why it doesn't store every single transaction you ever have made? It's not because of some really hard to get over problem or an immutable law of the universe. It's because society got together and thought that maybe having that kind of "permanent" record isn't a good thing. What makes you think that it's not probable that we'll come together and slap down Google, Microsoft, and pr

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Cochonou (576531)
            Well you know, if you followed a bit the launch of Street View in Germany, Google is not just "being nice" - it was forced by the governement to adopt this policy before launching its Street View service in this country, because of privacy concerns. More than 200 000 of such requests have already been sent. I'm not German, so I can't evaluate if these requests have a strong legal basis or not. But it seems clear that both the government and and a large part of the public opinion in Germany seem against unre
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward
              No, it's just Google being nice. The government couldn't do anything about Street View, that's why they ran around like headless chickens talking about changing laws but not actually doing anything. Because according to German law it's legal to take photos of everything you can see from a public place (like the roads the Google cars are driving on). You can also publish these photos in any way you like as long as no human can be identified on them, in that case it'd get slightly more complicated. This doesn
          • Re:Erm... (Score:4, Informative)

            by Tom (822) on Friday August 20, 2010 @02:31AM (#33311002) Homepage Journal

            This is exactly my thought. As far as I know, nobody is saying you CAN'T post photos of these homes.

            No, not yet. However, the government is deliberating passing a law that does. This protest is presumably part of the current public debate, a protest against making even more laws regulating what you can and can not do in public.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Raging against people who ask to have buildings excluded from a commercial map application seems... misplaced somehow.

          This is because you don't know the political context. Anti-Google rhetoric, especially concerning Street View, is commonplace right now in Germany, first and foremost by politicians of ruling and opposition parties, fueled by the publishers who don't like Google because they think Google News steals readers and ad revenue.

          The issue is perceived as defining the border between those who appreciate the Internet making theoretical rights practical, like the right to freedom of speech and the right to take photo

        • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:35AM (#33310534)

          Either way, Google is being nice by taking down photographs upon request. This is not a legal requirement, or censorship, or anything like that.

          Not yet.

          Clearly a lot of people felt strongly enough that this sort of activity constituted some sort of invasion of privacy to make the effort to ask Google to take the photos down. Clearly Google felt there was enough of a risk (legal, PR or otherwise) in not doing so that they instituted a policy to comply with these requests, and they have introduced various other policies for related reasons.

          If people like this Jens guy won't voluntarily respect that and want to deliberately upset all those other people just because they can legally do so today, then the law can always be changed tomorrow to fix that problem. This is the basic flaw in the whole "You have no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place" argument: it based on law rather than on ethics, and ignores the fact that laws are supposed to change as the world does, including keeping up with the implications of new technologies and how people feel about them.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by TubeSteak (669689)

            If people like this Jens guy won't voluntarily respect that and want to deliberately upset all those other people just because they can legally do so today, then the law can always be changed tomorrow to fix that problem.

            And how do you propose fixing that "problem?"
            Only allowing the police to videotape & photograph in public?
            Extending the DMCA to include otherwise legal pictures of property visible to the public?

            This is the basic flaw in the whole "You have no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place" argument: it based on law rather than on ethics

            What the hell kind of argument is that?
            How is it unethical to engage in Constitutionally protected rights?
            Unpopular speech is exactly what the First Amendment is there to protect.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Tom (822)

          You can still take pictures of everything in public view, and so can Google.

          You're not up to speed. There is currently a public debate about whether or not there should be a law prohibiting Google from doing so. Several members of the government are involved in the debate, so it's not just hot air. The vice prime minister has come out on the "against pictures" side, though I don't recall if he's supporting an explicit law or not, as he's a libertarian and that would be strange, but then again in the realm of politics truth is stranger than fiction.

      • So consequently there is a right involved, whether or not he's an asshole, he does have a point.

        That being the case, I still submit to you that he could choose to demonstrate his rights or make any number of other more important points without being an asshole.

        I support his right to be an asshole, and I support my right to call him an asshole for doing it. I also support the right of other people to non-violently produce consequences for his being an asshole if they believe he's an asshole; for example, n

      • by xpurple (1227)

        How does that work for me? I live on a private drive (which is marked private) that is rather long. Google has pictures of my place showing that they ignored my privacy.

      • by Zadaz (950521)

        Privacy never extended beyond the walls of your house. When my dad was on the PTA back in the 50's two teachers were fired because one (a man) was seen to leave his car parked overnight at the woman teacher's house. Yeah, it wasn't right, but it also sure as hell wasn't private.

        Everyone really needs to take ownership of their publicity. You can't ignore it or you'll be in the same queue with the guy complaining about that first Google hit on his name that's a drunk & disorderly arrest back in '86.

        The

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      Um, so you have the right to not have the exterior of your building viewed by anyone? I don't honestly see how that is any sort of right. Explain to me this "right" not to have pictures taken of your building? If Google came on your private land to take pictures, that is a problem, but you have no expectation and no right to privacy with the outside of your building. Don't like it? Build a fence or something.
      • by iammani (1392285)

        Build a fence or something.

        But they could still photography my fence!!

        • by pspahn (1175617)
          Or they could photograph their privacy hedges and send them to me. Filling an image catalog of thousands of species of mature plants by myself is difficult enough. I can use all the help I can get.
      • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by iktos (166530) * on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:16AM (#33310460)

        Fences is sort of what this is about, I think; Google photographs from a camera which is higher up than the conventional "public view".

      • Build a fence or something.

        Go straighten out the local zoning ordinance that prevents me from building a fourteen foot wall all around the perimeter of my property and that might be a vaguely compelling argument. Until then perhaps you should maybe do a tiny bit of soul searching and see if you can stop arguing in bad faith, then you could spend a second to consider the difference between street view and your house being viewed from the street.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fredmosby (545378)
      Sometimes you have to be an asshole to stand up for yourself. For example, if someone politely makes an unreasonable request you should still say no.
      • Isn't the decision to remove some photos a private agreement between Google and the people who ask for their photos to be removed? How is a third party, whether acting like an asshole or not, standing up for his own rights by interfering in that private agreement?
        • by Draek (916851)

          Isn't the decision to remove some photos a private agreement between Google and the people who ask for their photos to be removed?

          Yup, and as such a matter concerning only Google and said person.

          How is a third party, whether acting like an asshole or not, standing up for his own rights by interfering in that private agreement?

          He's not interfering in that agreement as he's not bound by it, being neither a Google employee nor the party that requested the takedown in the first place.

          • He's not interfering in that agreement as he's not bound by it, being neither a Google employee nor the party that requested the takedown in the first place.

            Interfering: To enter into, or take a part in, the concerns of others; It's precisely because he's not part of the private agreement that he is interfering. The parties to the agreement do not want those images to appear on Google's maps, and yet he's deliberately trying to do just that, so he's meddling directly in their concerns.

        • by Sparr0 (451780)

          Because five years from now when someone sues that asshole for posting such photos, he doesn't want them to be able to argue that this sort of censorship is common practice. "Everyone does it that way" is a compelling argument in some courts.

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by fredmosby (545378)
          It's standing up for my rights because I prefer my maps to be uncensored and complete.
          • I'm not sure that makes legal sense. It's not your map, it's Google's map. They can do whatever they like with it, including censoring it. If you want uncensored maps, then you'll have to create your own: you have no claim on theirs.
    • by pspahn (1175617)

      and this asshole (Jens Best) wants to say "FUCK YOU, I'm going to go against you because I can,

      It's a two way street. (pun? sorry.)

      Living in glass houses, stones, all that stuff.

    • I'm getting popcorn.

      This level of cognitive dissonance in the libertarians is going to be amusing.

      After all who can say no to the photographers right to take pictures in a public place, but who can say no to someone's right to keep the front gardens off of a publicly accessible mapping system.

      (to the rest of us, we know this guys just being an arsehole)
      • by yyxx (1812612)

        but who can say no to someone's right to keep the front gardens off of a publicly accessible mapping system.

        You have that right. The means you use to do that is called a "fence".

        Of course, Germany restricts tall fences in many places because they are considered ugly.

        (to the rest of us, we know this guys just being an arsehole)

        If standing up for democracy and freedom of speech makes someone an "arsehole", we need more people like that.

    • No, it's more like some assholes asked for a public space to be privatized for their own benefit, but they didn't have the decent courtesy to ask everyone who owned that space, they only asked one person/one corporation -- the one who was taking the pictures.
  • English version (Score:4, Informative)

    by cappp (1822388) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:50PM (#33310042)
    For those of us who don't read German fluently click here [googleusercontent.com]
  • by mysidia (191772) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:57PM (#33310078)

    The manually taken photos were of higher quality, and more detail than the Google streetview ones. Then the request to remove from streetview........ could result in more detailed imagery of the area being posted to a place where more people will notice it

    (Since streetview is so large, and has so many images.... a picture of an obscure place would probably not be noticed by many people, let alone get any attention or concern)

  • Microsoft did a while ago a google street view like app, combining photos from end users from that location. The end result is the same for the ones concerned about privacy, but the source is different. This people want to do something similar, regarding what got censored in street view. Where you draw the line between the right of privacy and the right of using a (geotagging) camera to take out your own photos and publish them? Should geotagging cameras be banned or required to not give precise locations?
  • by SlappyBastard (961143) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:15PM (#33310188) Homepage

    I can remember getting off the train at the Pentagon. I wanted to go upriver on foot to photograph the skyline of DC at night from across the river (don't ask me why -- ugly city). It didn't take too minutes before a Hummer came rolling out and a guy in a gun turret (gun pointed at me) told me to go away and not take any photos.

    Like it or not, some really stupid rules -- and even just really stupid etiquette -- governs what you can and cannot photograph.

    • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:29PM (#33310248) Journal

      Yes, but how far did you push back when you were challenged?

      It's really pretty clear that a photographer has certain rights to shoot photos anyplace in public in the U.S.A. Government has often tried to intimidate photographers, under the guise that "national security" demands they cease, or alternately, lower-level security protests under false claims that some "policy" was violated.

      The Amtrak photography incident comes to mind: http://carlosmiller.com/2008/12/27/amtrak-police-arrest-photographer-participating-in-amtrak-photo-contest/ [carlosmiller.com]

      A good guide to your REAL photographer's rights can be found here: http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm [krages.com]

      Having a gun pointed at you is a pretty strong intimidation tactic, yet if you're confident you're in the right, you can still stick up for your rights in that situation. Some soldier driving out to meet you in a Hummer is probably NOT prepared to fire a weapon at a civilian photographer. WAY too many consequences for an action that extreme. So you *could* have let them arrest you and take your camera, rather than complying ... and you'd have a really GOOD chance of coming out the victor.

      But let's face it.... that skyline photo probably wasn't something you wanted badly enough to fight for it.

      • by tftp (111690)

        Having a gun pointed at you is a pretty strong intimidation tactic [...] Some soldier driving out to meet you in a Hummer is probably NOT prepared to fire a weapon at a civilian photographer.

        You'd bet your life on too many assumptions. You have no idea what are the rules of engagement. You have no idea what is there that they don't want you to take pictures of. You don't know if the soldier's trigger finger is itchy. And you don't know how the soldier perceives you - as a civilian photographer or as a te

        • by yyxx (1812612)

          That analogy doesn't work. Eric Scott had a gun. Doing anything with a gun while police are around is dangerous. A camera is not a gun. It doesn't threaten the life of police, and it probably won't get you killed, no matter what.

  • by rxan (1424721) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:44PM (#33310322)

    Our right to take panoramic snapshots, for instance, or to take photographs in public spaces, both base laws which determine that one may photograph those things that are visible from public streets and places.

    Is a photo of your lawn, outside of home, and garden a private affair? When people drive by your home do you chase them away like a barking dog? No (reply if you do). Then why should you shoo away the Google car?

    OK. But does that give you the right to aggregate those photos, organize them by location, creating a photo map of the entire planet?

    On the one hand: Location based services are increasingly being incorporated into photographic devices. It's only a matter of time before the planet is completely photo-mapped with location information. Attempts to prevent this are only by scaremongers who have an idealistic view of privacy.

    On the other hand: People have a right to privacy and it's unreasonable for one corporation to destroy it.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Attempts to prevent this are only by scaremongers who have an idealistic view of privacy.

      I'd wish you stop calling names, please? The reason person owning the place to refuse letting others use the image of it (in any way) is irrelevant... what is relevant is: does he have a right to do it?

    • by xnpu (963139)
      This is why your home has walls and a roof. You can have your privacy inside. Need a bigger private space? buy a bigger property. Google isn't destroying anything. You already had 100+ neighbors who could see your yard. Now you have a few virtual neighbors extra. That's it. You won't attract a lot of attention on street view unless you do something really interesting, in which case one of your 100 "real" neighbors would've already put some snapshots online a long time ago.
  • That is what this guy basically is. There is a good change he will run foul of the law in addition

  • by bm_luethke (253362) <luethkeb@comcaCU ... minus physicist> on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:04AM (#33310410)

    ...it is about not being a douche bag.

    Really, it isn't illegal and that isn't why Google removes them. He isn't going to get arrested so his willingness to have that done is irrelevant. What he is doing is being a a major asshole and justifying being proud of it under some "information wants to be free" meme.

    My address, phone number, and a great deal of other information is certainly public knowledge - one can look it up on the internet (and I even use an abbreviated version of my real name so it isn't even that hard), yet I still wouldn't want all that attached to every post I made. There is a great deal of public information that we *all* would rather not telegraph in that well a concise and easy simple way to view. I'm willing to be this guy has a number of things about his life he considers private, is legally not, and would be royally pissed if people made a point of putting it on the internet. If someone walking down the raod asked politely to not be photographed few would call him a hero of anything if he then not only followed them taking all the photos he could but made sure that everyone singled them out to show what they would rather have private - no different here. I don't care about my picture being on Google Street View (well, other than the car was taking pictures when a police man was telling me to move my truck is parked in the road because someone up the street complained - we are on a dead end road. It's amusing as you can clearly tell I'm out on my front porch, the police car in the street, and the man in Blue talking to me - but then I find the thing more amusing than anything especially since I can pinpoint the exact time the car want by) and can't really see why anyone would care - but if they did it is called being a nice person to remove it.

    If he wants to push a real cause go take photographs of military installations or secure places like nuclear power plants. But then there you are actually likely to have real consequences instead of just being a douche bag and making people mad. Plus it is places that are actually illegal to photograph, used to be legal to do so, and there is a great deal of debate on what should and should not be allowed. Peoples houses in mapping software? Not so much - as is he is simply trying to make himself feel better by doing something minor/worthless and rationalizing that it is somehow, in someway, actually edge and dangerous. Yea, go stick it to the man! Just wait until these people see their houses photographed on the Internet, that'll show !

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by yyxx (1812612)

      Really, it isn't illegal and that isn't why Google removes them

      Germany is trying to make it illegal.

      My address, phone number, and a great deal of other information is certainly public knowledge - one can look it up on the internet (and I even use an abbreviated version of my real name so it isn't even that hard), yet I still wouldn't want all that attached to every post I made.

      How is that relevant? Google Streetview doesn't prevent you from being anonymous, nor does it identify you in any way. It gives pe

    • by Peeteriz (821290)

      The way I understand this was that Google agrees to remove the photos not to remove your house, but to remove inconvenient pictures of people that have been accidentally filmed - say, if your window is wide open and if you are visible mostly naked behind it, they'd immediately remove the pic out of courtesy.

      However, they don't bother to re-photo the house due to cost reasons; but this guy aims to fix this. And he is making quite a point with his actions; the point being that given the current rules, you do

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by richlv (778496)

      wouldn't a person who tries to restrict and censor the right to take photos in public places be a "douche bag" ?
      you know, all those private security officers, policemen and other assholes we have been discussing in previous /. articles who have been harassing photographers ?

  • Phew! I had to read the subject twice. For a while there I thought Germans had started assassinating buildings.
  • by anti-human 1 (911677) on Friday August 20, 2010 @01:16AM (#33310726) Journal
    I support a citizen's right to shoot. (I live in the U.S., not that that's relevant)
  • German politicians seem to think that the best thing to do is to give each person total control over data about them... total control, except, of course where the German state is concerned. The German state collects and shares data about its citizens in a way that would be unacceptable in most other democratic nations. Germany is rapidly heading towards totalitarianism again.

  • Yes you are all welcome to take photo of homes. It isn't forbidden by the law in germany. But the main problem people sees, is 1) privat sphere, partially alleviated by the fact google remove face and auto number 2) the fact the raw data are saved in the USA where data protection law don't apply anymore and 3) the fact that as a database that means you can quickly scan for house in the comfort of your home(to steal for example) rather than have to be physically present and scan visually.

    In the USA you mig
  • The thing I hate most about nerds is the "we must because we can" philosophy. Here's something else I can do: follow Jens Best around all day, and his mother, and his offspring, with a wide angle lens, an infrared camera, a highly sensitive microphone and a wardriving kit. Oh, I'm sorry, is your 7-year-old daughter pissing in her bathroom a private affair? Well, if she's going to radiate infrared onto the street I don't see why she has any more right to privacy than the wall in front of it, bouncing all tha

No skis take rocks like rental skis!

Working...