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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: So, um...
By walk2k on 4/3/2009 5:05:40 PM , Rating: 0

That was the sound of the point going over your head.

The point was, burglers often carry guns, so a pitchfork isn't a very wise choice of weapons to defend your property with.

Even if this mythical scenario you described was true, do you honestly think a burgler is going to see a mob with a pitchforks on Google maps and assume they are going to be out defending their property that way, every night?

You umm... you DO know that Google maps isn't LIVE... right? lol

RE: So, um...
By GaryJohnson on 4/3/2009 6:10:38 PM , Rating: 4
That was the sound of your sarcasm meter breaking.

RE: So, um...
By twjr on 4/4/2009 8:58:34 AM , Rating: 2
Even if this mythical scenario you described was true, do you honestly think a burgler is going to see a mob with a pitchforks on Google maps and assume they are going to be out defending their property that way, every night?

Clearly you haven't been to rural England before then.

RE: So, um...
By walk2k on 4/4/2009 3:19:45 PM , Rating: 2
No but when I do I'll be sure to bring a gun with me, in case I run into any crufty Brit villagers wielding pitchforks.

Of course, I'm American and we always carry guns, so that will be nothing new.

RE: So, um...
By Jimspar on 4/4/2009 5:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
My God, and to think I wondered why us Americans are reviled by other countries. Now I see why.

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