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Google Continues To Take Heat For Street View

| 4 Apr 2009 21:18
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Controversy continues to follow Google's Street View application, as UK residents continue to worry about privacy.

In the Milton Keynes suburb of Broughton, residents blocked the driver of Google Street View car as he started to take pictures of their homes, accusing him of invading their privacy and 'facilitating crime'.

Police were called to the scene, and a spokesperson for Thames Valley Police said: "A squad car was sent to Broughton at 1020 BST on Wednesday to reports of a dispute between a crowd of people and a Google Street View contractor."

"A member of the public had called us to report that he, along with a number of others, were standing in the middle of the road preventing the car from moving forwards and taking photographs. They felt his presence was an intrusion of their privacy. When police arrived at the scene, the car had moved on," he continued.

Councillor John Bint said that the camera was intrusive and people should have been consulted. "When a scene is viewed from street level it is acceptable but this camera is intrusive because it can peer into gardens and into the windows of homes. That is a step too far and Google should stop taking pictures in this way. They should consult with residents about what exactly they are going to do and provide a right of appeal."

Broughton resident Paul Jacobs, who, along with neighbour John Holmes, was the first to confront the Google driver, told the BBC, "I don't have a problem with Google wanting to promote villages. What I have a problem with is the invasion of privacy, taking pictures directly into the home," he said, "Google have taken a tremendous liberty in the way they've gone about it. If they were simply going to view the street as a street scene rather than drive almost into people's drives and take pictures of the houses - I think that's a different issue.".

Mr Holmes is even less enamoured with Google's new service, wanting Street View out of his area entirely. "An Englishman's home is his castle," he said.

This isn't the first time that Google has had to defend itself from this sort of accusation. Google spokesperson Peter Barron said the system contained "simple tools" which allowed people to remove images of their house. "Many, many millions of people have used the service very happily, and it's proved very useful... but we do recognise that a small minority of people won't feel comfortable about it."

Source: BBC

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