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Residents in the village of Broughton in the UK recently chased away a Google StreetView car, which they accused of aiding criminals. This is a image of Broughton taken from a Google satellite -- which the villagers were unable to chase away.  (Source: Google Earth)
Residents say Google is supporting criminal activities

Launched in 2007, Google Street View was Google's most ambitious mapping effort yet.  The program aimed to provide 3D views of city streets.  In order to do this, Google sent out a fleet of automobiles and bikes across different countries mapping out regions, street by street. 

The result was a resounding success; to date it has provided 3D views in many countries -- United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.  However, as Google recently discovered, not every is a fan of its unique web application.

When Google's Street View car rolled into the little UK village of Broughton, north of London, they were greeted by angry locals.  Apparently, the residents of the affluent town feared that the Street View images of their community would give burglars the ideal tool to scout out the neighborhood for robberies.

Describes Paul Jacobs to The Times of London, "I was upstairs when I spotted the camera car driving down the lane.  My immediate reaction was anger: How dare anyone take a photograph of my home without my consent? I ran outside to flag the car down and told the driver he was not only invading our privacy but also facilitating crime."

He continues, "This is an affluent area. We've already had three burglaries locally in the past six weeks. If our houses are plastered all over Google it's an invitation for more criminals to strike. I was determined to make a stand, so I called the police."

The residents called the police, which escorted the Google car out of town.  A Google spokesperson commented on the incident, "Embarking on new projects, we sometimes encounter unexpected challenges, and Street View has been no exception.  We know that some people are uncomfortable with images of their houses or cars being included in the product, which is why we provide an easy way to request removal of imagery. Most imagery requests are processed within hours.”

The spokesperson adds, "We take privacy very seriously, and we were careful to ensure that all images in our Street View service abide by UK law."

Google has taken to removing images and blurring peoples' faces and license plates in Street View to protect privacy.  However, the British incident is far from the first problem the endeavor has encountered. 

Street View in particular has yielded embarrassment for criminals and law abiding citizens alike, catching people committing crimes or behaving in embarrassing ways

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RE: Privacy
By Aloonatic on 4/3/2009 3:53:19 PM , Rating: 2
The rules may have changed (I'm going on information from an ooooold "Mark Thomas Comedy Product" show that was broadcast back in the mid 90s when CCTV cameras were starting to appear everywhere) but I'm fairly certain that it is your legal right to demand copies of all video and still images taken of you by any CCTV camera.

That used to be the case, not so sure now. You could try your luck and see if your local council will provide you with tapes of your activities as you got to and from your home so that you could make up your own version of the Truman show.

RE: Privacy
By jabber on 4/3/2009 4:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I remember watching that. I'm not sure if it now applies to Govt video sources.

Chances are you'd be seriously 'questioned' as to why you wanted the footage or cautioned for wasting time.

RE: Privacy
By Xerstead on 4/5/2009 7:09:54 PM , Rating: 2
I saw that one too. They even had a bunch of Morris dancers in a fast food outlet and tried to get a copy of the tape for that. IIRCC a reasonable charge may be made to produce the copy, but the data protection laws means they have to.

RE: Privacy
By Aloonatic on 4/6/2009 3:29:24 PM , Rating: 2
The good old "reasonable administration fee" :)

We desperately need a program like TMTCP again on our TV screens in this country, especially as the BBC are in New Labour's pocket. There is nothing like it now and investigative journalism is almost non-existent.

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