I think I saw this car today in Edinburgh, I was having a cheeky cigarette at the time at work. I hope the missus doesn't see it.
It's time to lock up your daughters, and here's why: The roving spycar of Google's Street View has been spotted prowling the mean streets of London... Google's Street View spycar spotted in London Good work there by the undercover missus of El Reg reader Ziad al-Hasso. Doubtless she'll soon be exposed on Street View, as will …
There's 2 pertinent angles to this, firstly privacy: they are welcome to retain a copy of my image, should they take it, provided they pay the annual fee as outlined in my terms & conditions. They should also contact me for permission beforehand, so I can be sure to be wearing my Sunday best.
Secondly, I can't help wondering how this vehicle fits in with the recent police, er, crackdowns on people taking photos in public places. Indeed, what if it is driven by a swarthy, bearded, backpack wearing gentleman, or his Brazilian lookalike?
There must be a flood of them.
I was caught by one, quite inadvertently, three times last week in my home town.
Quite discrete, just a plain black hatchback with a single "google" decal on the side doors.
Huge pylon sporting multiview cams sprouting from the roof is a bit of a giveaway though.
Thought it was a new Police/DVLA number plate recognition machine at first till it pulled up for a red light. (OK, so it was in the red light district, what d'ya expect?)
Funnily enough, I was actually talking to my gay lover on a mobe while my other half believes I was at a wireless networking conference in Basingstoke
... and post them all over the internet without so much as a by-your-leave-guvnor!
Why don't the plods stop them? Can't have something to do with them being a Mega corp?
Perhaps I should wear a Google hat and t-shirt next time I'm out taking pictures in a public location.
That any terror-bent psychos can simply look up all UK infrastructure on Google - Maybe if they realised that one of the biggest internet companies on the planet has already done a bigger job than any small 'cell' could do then they would lay of us photographers/videographers.
I will personally give £500* to the first El Reg reader who snaps the Googlebug car, cameras and operator getting confiscated/arrested. What a laugh that would be!
*T&C's apply: Anon
AC - the continental Opel is the same thing as the UK Vauxhall.
Tim - the owner of a photograph is the photographer, not the subject. The only case where it gets more complicated is in private property, which the streets of $UKcity aren't.
Police appropriation of stuff also isn't relevant unless they're loitering, which is a bit difficult not to do when you're stuck in London queueueueueueues...
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It was in Inverness last week, never saw it myself (so nothing to tell the grandkids about), but various friends did.
Curiously, some odd-shaped aerial-looking devices popped up on a few lampposts at the same time. Still not got to the bottom of that one....
Like an inverted capital F, they are cable-tied on. Any ideas, helicopter-watchers ?
'Police appropriation of stuff also isn't relevant unless they're loitering'
So you mean that as long as when I want to take photo's in public as long as I am walking or running or if I don't stop to look at the pictures I've just taken on my camera or playback some video then nothing will happen to me!
I thought nothing would happen to me because it was the law!
Thanks for your reassurances - though it's a brave man who chooses blind faith and puts them to the test!
Coat - the one with the SD memory cards, spare batteries and mini DV tapes in the pockets (well - they were in the pockets before the police went past the coat rack .....)
Look, Tim, if I can see you walking down the street, and I can remember that I saw you walking down the street, then there is NOTHING to stop me taking a picture of you walking down the street. A photograph, or even video, is just a permanent reminder of something the photographer saw. If you don't want to be photographed, then don't leave the house, and keep your curtains shut.
Oh, and buy a Mac, they are better than windows machines.
it was the same car (tell by reg plate) on 12th June. btw he was quite rude in assuming I'd let him out of a junction - typical southern driver! he then proceeded to snap away without prior permission!! (LEDs flashing on the camera equipment) whilst merrily strolling along past the main white building at Leeds University.
I didnt pull a face or flash anything a) because I was driving and b) quite shocked at his cheeky junction-exiting manoeuvre
'Where do I claim the £500? '
a) There's no arrest or confiscation evident
b) It's not in the UK (T&C's*)
c) I believe the officer is actually asking "Does my bike look big in this?" and noting down the web address the pics will be on & drivers details so he can go check.
*T&C's state everything must be in UK & done UK stylee - that's at least a tacit "or we'll log onto the PNC and amend your details to terrorist/paedo" if not an all out (erroneous) "we think what you're doing is illegal - therefore it is"
Coat: Yep - pockets weren't empty but tapes and SD cards had been wiped
Judging by the angle of the shot of this GoogleCar, it seems it was the driver who took this photo, and looking at the quality, it must be from a camera-phone, therefore slap a nice 3pts + £60 fine to Mr Ziad al-Hasso and posting it on the web ;)
mines the one with the blue flashing lights
"Glad it wasn't the lizard overlords survey vehicle."
Who do you think are in charge of Google's takeover of the planet?
When we are all totally reliant on Google for everything IT they will just pull the plug and humans will turn on each other while the lizards feed on our pain.
's obvious, innit?
If Google is taking pics (and posting them online to add insult to injury!) in the streets, then you can too! All you have to do when you're getting [arrested | your stuff confiscated | your Flash wiped] is to point out to the police that Google does it too so it must be legal, and all will be fine and they'll let you go in peace.
Tim - public place, no right to privacy and anyone can take your photo. Despite all the efforts to the contrary that is still the law.
Eddie - Model release is only required for commercial use, in fact it isn't always required but very few places will take stock of identifiable people without a model release for legal protection.
Thought Model Release was more for our American cousins who require them for commercial use to cover their arses in case of US lawsuits ?
Other than that I think it's just common practice with models, but in the US you need them for anyone in the photo, but in the UK just any old member of public who gets in the shot doesn't require them I believe.
Anyway, there are some exceptions to this "okay in public" rule...
Certain gov 'sensitive' sites
Public places in London that require permits for commercial photos, Trafalgar Square I think for one.
You may come a cropper with trademark infringement if the photo contains a trademark *and* it can be clearly shown in court that you are using that trademark for your commercial benefit. However this is a civil case, not criminal. It's still not illegal to take the photo in the first place or even use it commercially, just that the trademark owner can attempt to sue for damages.
And of course half the Special Constables in the UK seem to think all photographers are paedo-terrorists ;-)
Anyway, Gordo's lot will soon put a stop to photography. Soon pro photographers will need top level security clearance and have all photos checked before use, will need ID cards and be registered on a special database. Anyone else will be limited to a snapshot camera and manufacturers will be required to include image recognition technology that blurs out any kiddies and gov buildings! And of course they'll still need to get a permit to buy a camera and all photos will be digitally watermarked with the photographer's ID which is checked via a genetic DNA scanner on the shutter button.
Perhaps if people bought Google T-shirts and/or put a Google sticker on their camera then they could claim they were merely doing fill-in pics that the car didn't quite get if they are stopped by the police.
@Andy Kay - it's illegal to use a phone while driving, but I don't think it's a specific offence to use a camera, they'd have to get you under existing due care and attention regs for that one. My camera phone actually takes very good quality pics (K800) so quality doesn't necessarily prove anything.
"WHY in the world are the lane lines painted all zig-zaggedy??"
It indicates the desired skid mark pattern when you slam your brakes on a little too late having noticed the red light for the pedestrian crossing ahead.
However some like to entertain the idea that it's the markings that are there on the approach to a pedestrian controlled crossing and that you must take care and must never park there. Or something like that anyway.
I was not talking to my gay lover. I was talking to Paris regarding some slanderous remarks on this website - so expect litigation from Davenport Lyons who also noticed that you are downloading "Linux Dists" (yeah whatever!!) via Bittorrent!!
However on a serious note, can they come down my street, I'd like to show my arse on google maps!!
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You cheap, lying rat!
I thought you were at the conference, phoned them and some Anonymous Coward tried to cover for you.
I know you were elsewhere, no doubt meeting someone else.
Well, let me tell you ... I never want to see you again.
Never, never, never.
(Unless you apologise and buy me that Prada bag)
but you'll notice that it will cost you more to insure the Opel in the UK as they are a foreign brand and so worthy of an insurance hike.
Should you be silly enough to state your vehicle as being a Vauxhall to save the aforementioned insurance hike then you would be considered uninsured in the case of an accident.
(there are nice specialist insurance companies who respect the 99.9999% similarity between the Opel and Vauxhall models and will charge the same... but good luck finding one )
i'll pick up my anorak on the way out...
We spotted this car lurking very slowly down our cul-de-sac one day last week. The vehicle actually stopped outside our house and although our garden hedge is very high, the cameras on the top of the pole could be seen clearly looking into our garden and kitchen window. It was very intimidating!
We went out onto the street to see what on earth was happening. It was a black car,
just like the one on the photograph, with two men in the front seats. The vehicle turned around at the end of the cul-de-sac and then it drove away, very slowly, filming everyones homes and gardens.
Black helicopter for obvious reasons...
Surely if the camera is high enough to see over a fence/hedge larger than 6ft (giving a reasonable expectation of privacy), then the photographs of the gardens would be illegal if someone complained (as it is illegal to take photographs of a place with a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as a garden surrounded by a fence that prevents people from looking in, even if from a public place, if it would be recognisable)
Tim I am with you. I was outraged by Google not blurring faces & number plates. I saw this as common sense and thought it should be mandatory. I just found out a week ago; IT IS NOW. Google have changed their ways. I don't know how I missed the Register's article on it. In fact the news is about a month old and I had heard NOTHING about it. I stumbled upon it on a random webpage last week. Wonder what made them change their mind??
Here is the story on this site :http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/14/street_view_face_blurring/
Now that I see the example photo, though, the blurring is quite pathetic. You can still make out the faces pretty clearly.
I would say that Google ought to blur windows too. Faces, windows and numberplates. It's just good sense. With the popularily of Google and Google Streetviews, it is a huge privacy concern, we are talking millions and millions of people using the service and viewing the photos, not someone's holiday snaps.
But I love the idea so I hope it works out. If anyone is interested, the car was in Rome too.
I have to ask though, did Google get special permission? Can you imagine a regular joe trying to drive down the road with a camera/big black box on top of their car? You would probably make it to the end of your street before armed police arrived. (meanwhile, there is someone being stabbed to death over his fish & chips in the next street)
Grant that's not true. People (that are not famous) have a reasonable expectation of privacy and that includes the right not to be photographed (yes in public) and have the photo published widely. The rules on taking photos in public places were made before the days where everything is published online, ( and are probably going to change soon). You do not consent to having your photo put on google when you leave the house, it is impossible to live without leaving your house! Thus, photographers need to behave responsibly. It is okay at concerts or something, where photography is expected, or in crowds, or if it is noteworthy.
But ..not.. getting caught on your way to your work.
I'm guessing that is what's causing the aggression/suspicion towards photographers these days. People are sick enough of being watched by CCTV, and don't want their photo ending up on Flickr or something. Since they can't shout at the wall mounted cameras, they take it out on the humans, or set the police on them. Same difference. Photographers are sort of a..visible part of the surveillance society.. I have no idea why they object to taking pictures of buildings though they have been doing that for years... Personally I would fight that and take it all the way to court if need be.