If so, what exact laws are responsible for it?

I'm a big fan of Google Street View and I have heard that it's illegal in European Union and in Germany to keep street view imagery in unblurred form indefinitely. At least as this article claims (about EU).


I'm absolutely upset by this allegedly existing regulation and I'm trying to construct a campaign against it - I myself live in Germany and I feel moral obligation to fight this immoral regulation (because it hinders historical preservation which is moral value too).

From what I know, their reasoning is that faces and license plates are private information and private information must be deleted as soon as possible after it's no longer needed.

Do Germany and European Union really have any laws prohibiting storing unblurred Google Street View? If so, what exact laws are responsible for it? It's about storage itself, not publishing.

Thank you very much.

2 Answers 2


There are a number of laws which street view may offend. A summary is available here.

Privacy is only one of the concerns.

The other major one is that most countries have laws which prohibit commercial exploitation of people's images without a model release. There is no doubt that street view is a commercial operation even if all it does is serve as advertising for Google. If Google is using my photograph to promote their business then I should be paid for it, right?

The concern you raise about a historical record has been raised before (see linked article).

  • Well, I do get your reasoning. But in case it turned out they only keep unblurred Street View with your photograph without your permission while they publish the blurred version so that your photograph is not "used to promote their business", how would you react? The article is plainly corrupted, even though it's the best I could find. They said it's not a big deal after they found out that only unblurred version is legally doomed. So that damaged version is "sufficient". So it doesn't really address the concern about undamaged historical record Sep 7, 2016 at 3:05
  • 1
    But Google is not a publicly funded archive and they have no obligation to keep the photos - they can destroy them at any time they want. All the law is saying is that cannot be more than six months from when they were taken.
    – Dale M
    Sep 7, 2016 at 3:10
  • In case they were going to destroy it, I personally, regardless of cultural conventions, would be in favor of using non-lethal force to stop them from doing so (or offering money for not destroying it). And about 6 months limitation - what exact law tells so? Sep 7, 2016 at 4:03

You will probably not succeed with such a campaign in Germany. The right to have the image of your home blurred goes down in its core to the right of informational self-determination (Recht auf informationelle Selbstbestimmung - Art. 1 I GG, Art 2 I GG) that the German constitutional court has defined in 1983 (BVerfGE 65, 1 ff.). This is not only a constitutional right and as such needs a 2/3 majority to amend, it derives from Art. 1 GG, which is the core of all constitutional rights and is unamendable and unviolatable (see Art. 79 III GG). That means that all amendments to that article are void, so even if parliament would try to change the constitution in that respect, they simply couldn't.

And I'm pretty sure you won't find a majority in the German population to such a law, even less 2/3. No MP looking for reelection would support that law.

  • North Korea in Europe. Nov 24, 2016 at 12:02
  • You can go and try... Try that in North Korea. Except North Korea is where people don't share your opinion.
    – Sefe
    Nov 24, 2016 at 13:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .