We covered the UK launch of Google Street View last month. The database of street level images from 26 UK towns and cities has been one of Google’s more controversial projects. There have been lots of objections that Google Street View is an invasion of privacy, since it takes photos without any individual’s permission, and in most cases without their knowledge. It has also been described as a helpful aid to burglars.
Despite this, its proved a huge boost for traffic to Google Maps.
The photos are taken from a panoramic camera mounted 12 foot high on the top of a moving car.
The residents of one village near Milton Keynes have turned their objections into direct action. Protesters from Broughton surrounded a Google Street View car to prevent it taking photos of their homes.
A local councilor said the camera was ‘intrusive’ and that people should have been consulted.
The protest was significant enough for the police to be called: “A squad car was sent to Broughton at 1020 BST after reports of a dispute between a crowd of people and a Google Street View contractor”, said Thames Valley police.
This isn’t the first time objections have been raised. Before the project even launched, Google had to satisfy all privacy concerns with the Information commissioner’s office.
For my part, there’s no way I’d get in the way of the Google Street View car. Aside from being a really innovative development in real world mapping, it’s been really exciting to travel along known streets and roads pointing out the homes of friends and family.
And of course anyone can remove images of their house from the database once it goes live, if they still feel like their privacy has been invaded
What do you think? Great innovation or invasion of privacy? Leave us a comment below.