It Takes A UK Village To Thwart Google Street View

Google’s Street View recently hit the UK streets, and an angry throng of Brits has hit back. It happened in the wealthy village of Broughton: Seeing the Street View car driving through town, residents formed a human chain to stop the car and hassled the driver until he turned around and left.

The Times reports that the residents were already on alert because of three burglaries in the last six weeks. Said Paul Jacobs, the first person to flag down the car: “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.”

Street View is off to a rough start in the UK. Officials were upset a couple weeks ago about a photo of a naked child caught by Google’s cameras. The watchdog group Privacy International filed a complaint with the UK government just days after Street View launched there.

And if you’ve been reading Search Engine Land for any length of time, you know the UK isn’t the first place Google Street View has encountered problems. Angry mobs notwithstanding, academics and attorneys in Japan are trying to block Street View. Canadian officials expressed concerns early on that it might violate privacy laws there. And a German town planned to make Google apply for a permit to drive its Street View cars through town, and then deny the permit application.

Meanwhile, Google tells the British press that their driver wasn’t breaking any laws by driving into Broughton, and that residents can request to have pictures of their homes removed … but only if they let the car through in the first place.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Maps & Local | Google: Street View | Legal: Privacy | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • mattinertia

    I’m ashamed of the complete over reaction of my fellow countrymen! We were/are one of the leading technological nations and this is how we react to something so trivial when compared to the other privacy violations we endure? The UK streets are a public domain already overflowing with CCTV, speed cameras and even, recently, metal detectors!

    People seem to think that street view is going to increase child abuse and paedophilia. Those are problems which were around way before street view and probably way after it has gone. They are social and psychological conditions you morons! If an individual is that way inclined then street view is not the deciding factor.

    People say paedophiles will use street view to “plan child kidnapping” – ever heard of an A-Z?

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