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Angry Villagers Run Google Out of Town 1188

Barence writes "A Google Street View car has been chased out of a British village by angry residents. The car was taking photographs of Broughton in Buckinghamshire for Google's when it was spotted by a local resident who warned the car not to enter the village then roused his neighbors, who surrounded the vehicle until the driver performed a U-turn and left. 'This is an affluent area,' protester Paul Jacobs said. '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.'"


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Angry Villagers Run Google Out of Town

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  • Surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:19PM (#27438173) Journal
    Given the shape of popular british paranoia these days, I would have expected the google car to be identified as an agent of the paedophiles and run out of town for that reason...
  • by diablovision ( 83618 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:19PM (#27438175)

    I was driving close to the Googleplex the other day and spotted what I thought was one of those infernal google camera cars, so I drove up next to it and stared, holding a bizarre contorted face for as long as possible. Turns out it was just Google security. Sorry security man, I thought I could be famous....

  • Alternatives (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mendoksou ( 1480261 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:19PM (#27438183)

    So instead they got media coverage about how they are affluent and easy targets for burglars?

    • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:18PM (#27438925) Homepage

      Better idea:

      Organize a huge mob of people to visit the village "because it wasn't on Google, and wanted to know what it was like"

    • Re:Alternatives (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:28AM (#27441281)
      They weren't actually worried about common burglars. They were worried about governmental and semi-governmental burglars. The TV licence thugs, the Inland Revenue Service, the Zoning Commission, the Historical Society, those bastards can fine you and put you in prison any time they want. And it only gets worse if they can prove with actual photographs that the new converted alcove on your house is less than a few years old, or that google showed that your television was on last year.
  • hey, moron (Score:5, Funny)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:23PM (#27438229) Homepage Journal

    the burglars already know where you live.

  • by NetRanger ( 5584 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:24PM (#27438239) Homepage

    Rule #1 is:
    Security through obscurity isn't.

    Rule #2 is: Making a huge stink about your private neighborhood against a well-liked company like Google will probably mean you're going to get a lot more attention than if you just let well enough alone.

  • Airstrip One (Score:5, Insightful)

    by memorycardfull ( 1187485 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:29PM (#27438337)
    Folks across the pond seem to trust only the state with cameras these days.
  • Angry Mob Wins? (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Raven ( 30575 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:36PM (#27438427) Homepage

    So the bizarre flashmob of angry residents barricades a public road and illegally blocks Google from taking photos from the public streets? This is in the UK... those people are already putting up with a billion cameras, what's one more?

  • by dfenstrate ( 202098 ) <> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:47PM (#27438555)

    They took a stand and 'Called the police.'

    That's hardly a 'stand.'

    'Taking a stand' would be tarring and feathering their local district attorney equivalent and their MP's until their right to
    shoot burglars dead is once again respected by English law.

    Burglaries will be sorted out after a few burglars end up dead for their efforts.

    Take a stand and kill a crook. Take a stand and slap around your local DA to de facto respect the notion that a man's home is his castle. Take a stand and slap around your politicians until they recognize what nature teaches: That every living thing has a right to defend themselves, their friends, their family, and their home.

    Being a crook isn't a legitimate career choice. It should carry a great deal more risk than it currently does in jolly ol' Britain.

  • by neo ( 4625 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:05PM (#27438773)

    I can't figure out where to take my camera, can you give me a link to this location on Google Maps?

    Oh here it is.,-95.677068&sspn=51.754532,114.257812&ie=UTF8&ll=51.880332,-0.873456&spn=0.019895,0.05579&t=h&z=15 []

    Don't blink as you drive through.

  • Watch out, realtors! (Score:5, Informative)

    by c0d3g33k ( 102699 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:07PM (#27438791)

    They will be coming for you next for put stuff like the following online: []

    I wonder how posting full price info, detailed descriptions of the home, exterior *and* interior photos is less revealing than driving down the street with a camera mounted on the car. I suppose the xenophobia response doesn't get triggered when it's members of the local community that engage in privacy-violating activities.

  • by algae ( 2196 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:14PM (#27438855)

    You see, unlike us savage Americans, the British know that it's not a violation of privacy if the government are the ones watching you.

    Google should just cut a deal with parliament to use the 88,000,023 cameras already installed across the UK.

  • by sycomonkey ( 666153 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:14PM (#27438859) Homepage
    I don't know how privacy laws work in England, but in the US the concept of "Reasonable Expectation of Privacy" exists. What I can see of your house from the street is NOT private. It's public. If you don't want people to see your house, you better build a big fence, or some other method of exhibiting a particularly strong interest in visual privacy. Otherwise your front lawn should be free game. This concept provides a distinction between Street View and peeping toms. It's not reasonable to expect that nobody will see your house when it is in plain view, but if you close your blinds, you can reasonably expect that people aren't going to go to extra measures to see inside. If they do, you have a legitimate privacy complaint, because you put up a barrier that prevents casual observation of the inside of your house that had to be circumvented to some degree.
  • by Mansing ( 42708 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:37PM (#27439137) []

    The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. Absent a specific legal prohibition such as a statute or ordinance, you are legally entitled to take photographs. Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks.

  • public streets (Score:4, Insightful)

    by speedtux ( 1307149 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:53PM (#27440363)

    In the US, you have a right to take pictures of anything you can see from a public street. I suspect it is similar in the UK or else Google wouldn't be doing Street View there.

    On the other hand, surrounding other people's cars and interfering with their passage through public streets may constitute a crime.

  • by IHC Navistar ( 967161 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @06:29AM (#27442671)

    Yes, you do have the right to photograph from a public place, BUT what Google is doing with the photographs it takes demonstrates a problem with that right. The concept of being able to take pictures from a public place was not conceived with the knowledge that someone, let alone a company, would drive up and down every street with the intention of photographing every house an posting the images on the internet for the world to see.

    The residents were absolutely correct in making Google leave. 'Street View' basically provides a virtual shopping mall for criminals looking to scout out new targets.

    Crooks can gather *ALOT* of valuable information from such photographs:

    1: Location.
    2: Neighboring buildings.
    3: Surrounding environment.
    4: A rough building floorplan.
    5: Points of entry.
    6: Points of exit.
    7: Possible escape routes away from the scene.
    8: Economic status of the resident.
    9: Vantage points where neighbors might detect them.
    10: Pets (Number, type, and locations).
    11: Observation points where the criminal can observe residents activity.
    12: Hiding spots.
    13: Obstacles to entry.
    14: Obstacles to escape.
    15: What kind of valuables might be present.
    16: Likelihood of passers-by who might see them.

    Any criminal can use this information to *GREATLY* increase their chances of a successful robbery.

    Unfortunately, civil rights nutjobs will defend their right to photograph in public, but will crucify law abiding people if they shoot a criminal while he is trying to rob a house.

    Laws like this make life easier for criminals, and harder for the rest of use who choose to defend ourselves from crime.

  • The irony . . . (Score:4, Interesting)

    by moeinvt ( 851793 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @07:34AM (#27442981)

    is that Britain(at least London) has become a total surveillance society with every bloody move of their citizens recorded on camera for use by Big Brother.

    Perhaps they should consider gathering the neighbours and kicking the government out of town?

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"