Austria versus road imagery


I’ll be brief since this seems to be asked way too many times and gets answered so rarely.

The net is full with warnings about Austria (and Germany, actually) and dashcams, people claim that the Police can easily fine you for up to €10.000 for having a dashcam, or a street video or imagery recording device, due to laws about surveillance and stuff.

However I have found none backing this up with the actual reference of law and possibly (preferably official) police statement about how they intend to handle these cases, or if there’s any way to differentiate between illegal (?) surveillance and legal street photos. People sometimes mention blurred faces and license plates, but so far nobody backed up why blurring would make it legal (who says it and where), if it was illegal in the first place at all.

I would appreciate if anyone could:

  • reference me a specific law which may forbid making mapillary imagery using any video or photo equipment (villeicht in Deutsch);
  • reference me some official statement if this was not the case; or if it was but there would be allowed and forbidden ways of doing it;
  • if blurring would make it legal then reference an official statement about this;
  • any real-world Austrian experience, legal actions, police actions, etc. in this topic.

Without this it seems to be quite risky (and expensive) to make Austrian Mapillary trails.



are there examples of tickets or arrests based on this?


I’d start with the Wikipedia article on streetview and infer from there:Österreich
you’ll likely need additional blurring that Mapillary doesn’t do automatically so far.

I don’t know about the situation in Austria since I only looked at in Germany. In the past it was argued the blurring of people (faces?), number plates and views into private flats (through windows?) is required by the Bundesdatenschutzgesetz. From my understanding this is mostly the predecessor from GDPR, So if Austria didn’t have something similar in the past, maybe look into GDPR.

Please note that I intentionally wrote argue. I doubt there’s a specific law to this sitution because there’s essentially two rights clashing: yours to take a photos and others right to privacy. So if this ever goes to court, the judge will likely have to resolve this conflict some way. More pessimistic, it’s essentially a Blackbox until a court decides. Hiring a lawyer probably gets you half way there.

A more reasonable suggestion would be to ask the affected Datenschutzbehörde, then ask Mapillary to maybe implement additional blurring. From the Wikipedia article it says “full blur of person in front of some buildings”. Since Mapillary already detects people, additional blurring seems easily achievable.