The best neighbors are nosy neighbors

When is watching neighbors a criminal offense?

Checking every now and then is fine. If the binoculars are used, it is stalking. But other methods are also punishable. What is allowed and what is not.

© dpa

Looking is allowed for the time being, but those who use technical aids have to be careful not to interfere with the neighbour's right to privacy.

Someone sometimes watches their neighbors. Is he allowed to do that? Of course you can look everywhere first, explains lawyer Florian König from Hamburg. "That's no problem at all." But the right amount plays an important role. "When I watch my neighbor burn the meat while grilling, that has nothing to do with stalking at first."
But anyone who is about so curious that they use technical aids such as binoculars must be careful not to interfere with the privacy and personal rights of their neighbors. Even binoculars are not an immediate problem. "But if, for example, I have to climb a tree to view the outside area of ​​a sauna or use binoculars to look into a bathroom, then yes."

Filming violates personal rights

Unauthorized photography and filming is not an option. "Because then I not only violate personal rights, but also violate data protection," explains König, "even if I do this from my own property."
In general, the following applies: At the moment when looking assumes a form that is likely to seriously impair the life of the person concerned, this can be interpreted as a reenactment according to Section 238 of the Criminal Code (StGB). "So the willful, repeated, persistent observation, pursuit and harassment of a person - in short, stalking," explains König. Custodial sentences of up to three years or fines can result in individual cases.

Log observation by neighbors

Under certain circumstances, those affected can also assert claims under civil law. This applies, for example, if they suffered physical or psychological damage as a result of the observation or if the neighbor has violated their personal rights. However, lawsuits are generally very difficult. The observed has to collect detailed evidence, for example keep records or call witnesses, in order to substantiate his statements.
The boundaries between normal observation and critical behavior can be fluid. There is no defined level above which it becomes illegal after a certain number of hours. "But those who have had a sensible upbringing will notice for themselves when it becomes too much," the lawyer hopes.

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Source: dpa

| Updated: Monday March 29, 2021 10:51 am

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