In Slovenia, photography gets regulatory scrutiny

Over at Dliberation, I’ve reported on a story with a geolocation twist likely of interest to Ogle Earth readers:

In an unfortunate bout of regulatory innovation in Slovenia, the information commissioner there has decided that panoramic photography benefits from less legal protection than conventional photography because she reckons panoramas make it is easy to tell where the photograph was taken, and when, thus compromising the data rights of the people in the shot. She argues this, apparently unaware that all modern digital photography comes with EXIF time stamps which sites such as Flickr will automatically share, while many smart phone camera apps will attach their location to photos published to Twitter or Facebook. Photographs of landmarks also situate individuals at a certain place at a certain time. The commissioner may have unwittingly condemned all such photography to Street-Viewesque blurring requirements — at least if she is consistent in her logic.

I “blame” Google for this:

[This is] a case study of how Google, by voluntarily implementing facial blurring in its relatively new but hugely popular Street View automated 360-degree panoramas, created norms in the minds of regulators that they are now eager to set in stone legally.

Because Street View is so popular, it is quite possibly the only kind of immersive panorama that most people have seen. I believe this has altered popular expectations regarding the blurring of individual faces, which led to the commissioner decreeing that all panoramas not depicting a news-worthy event need to be blurred. Ironically, Google Street View isn’t even available in Slovenia:

That’s because Slovenia said it would require Google to keep the raw Street View images in Slovenia until they were blurred — no unblurred images were allowed to leave the country. Because the blurring makes use of Google’s servers, none of which are in Slovenia, Google respectfully declined to add Slovenia to its Street View program.

Read the whole article over at

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