back to article Privacy watchdog hoists Google by its own petard

In an effort to prove that Google is a serious threat to the personal privacy of people everywhere, the National Legal and Policy Center has exposed countless Google Street View pics that detail what are likely the home, cars, and daily commute of top Google executive Larry Page. Responding to Google's addled defense of Street …


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  1. Les Matthew
    Thumb Up

    Two words

    Love it.

  2. Hrishikesh
    Paris Hilton

    Parry Lage?

    Hmm ... isn't the point of the Google Spycar throwing things in the open? So why is the name of said exec blacked out in the comments when it is plainly visible in the URL:

    No, said exec is not Miss Hilton ...

  3. Hrishikesh

    Brilliant Description of the Lexus

    a Black Rectangular Lexus

  4. David Renaud

    Ironic, isn't it?

    In summer of 2004, I was hassled by a Google security guard while taking nature photographs in the park which borders the east side of Google's campus on Amphitheater Parkway in Mountain View, Ca. This is a public park that was constructed when the campus was originally built, as required by the city of Mountain View. The orginal tenant of the campus was SGI.

    At the moment of the hassling, I was operating a twin-lens reflex camera on a tripod. I was on the sidewalk with the Google campus at my back, photographing some trees across the street. The guard demanded to know what I was photographing and accused me of photographing the Google campus, as if that act was somehow forbidden or unlawful. Being aware of my rights, I asked the guard if I was trespassing on Google property, to which he replied, "No". I then told them that if he wished to purse the matter, he should call the Mountain View police. He left in a huff.

    Needless to say, this encounter was a little intimidating and upsetting. Time passed and Google street view came out and my thought was, "How Ironic?"

  5. Herby

    A Lexus???

    Can't he be more imaginative? A whimpy Toyota by any other name, and overpriced as well. How about a nice big SUV, like my Ford Explorer that they found in my driveway when they passed by.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Ironic, isn't it?

    I would not put what happened to you down to a policy of google to not allow people to snap their building. I would say it was a bored security guard just looking to unnecessarily spoil your day by giving you a hard time. What's the point of this guy wearing that copish uniform if he can't use it to bully people?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    My SUV is bigger then your SUV?

    Maybe you could get together and have a p1ssing contest.

  8. JC

    @ Ironic

    Someone surveying the area for the best way to sneak around might well pose as a nature photographer. With an entire park, to have backed yourself up to the perimeter of the campus would seem suspicious to me, even moreso if you then seemed to be taking pictures of anything but the campus as if you were trying to hide your activity.

    I've never worked as a security guard, let alone being the one who stopped you, but I know well enough that when it appears that someone is trying to hide something, more scrutiny ought to be placed on them from a security perspective.

    So you didn't like being suspected of wrongdoing. Fair enough, but until that could be determined how would a guard catch anyone who was actually up to no good without waiting till that person had caused more of a breech or damage?

    I'm not suggesting the guard should've said anything at all since you weren't on Google property, but perhaps kept an eye on you till you left the area.

  9. David Renaud

    More Irony

    Actually, my impression was that Google security had the entire area around the campus under surveillance, including the public park. I never set foot on Google grounds. The guard, if that's what he was, was wearing a polo shirt, slacks, and a Google employee badge. As I was in a park, not on the campus, he had to walk quite a way to harass me. This seemed like a general policy, not the actions of a bored guard. The rude confrontational manner may have been unique that guard.

    Once in New York, I was asked to stop photographing in front of the CNN building, however, the guard was polite, citing "security issues". I was on their property, even though I was only a few feet off a crowded sidewalk and there were no signs or barriers. Ironically (once more), I was photographing an American flag. Here is the shot.

  10. Nomen Publicus
    Black Helicopters

    The good, the bad and local government?

    Of course, Google could have used an unmarked car and everybody would have assumed it was one of the unmarked mobile traffic monitor cars that are commonly seen on the roads.

    Which is worse, Google openly taking pictures or local government using unmarked camera cars?

  11. Joe Blogs

    Storm in a tea cup!

    Other people and "security" cameras watch you 24/7 when you are out in public... Part of living in a "modern" society...

    You have no right to privacy unless you are in your own home.

    You'd have to be daft to leave your curtains wide open while you romp around naked with the mrs...

  12. Francis Fish

    Larry's name is visible on the page

    Just highlight the text. It's an old joke after some stuff was blanked out in a "sensitive" pdf (UK or US govt can't remember) and you just had to highlight it, or C&P somewhere else.

    They're messin wif your mind man ...

  13. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects


    It's foist not hoist.

    As in "foist by one's own petard" (a shaped charge of gunpowder originally designed to blow holes in gates and later used to remove hinges and locks etc.)

    To be so pedantic indicates I don't have a life but at least it won't be appearing anywhere but online.

    And who pays any attention to

    Why doesn't the "none" button work?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i remember way back WHAN...

    folks knew the difference twixt THEN and THAN...

    "...My SUV is bigger then your SUV?..."

    i'm sure you mean 'bigger THAN'. think about it, or read this beautifully crafted idiots' guide....

  15. Daniel Bennett

    RE: Larry's name is visible on the page

    Haha indeed.

    Found this funny, Nice one reg!

    Wonder when they go through Downing Street...

  16. Eddie Edwards

    @ Foist by his own petard

    Shakespeare got it wrong then, did he?

    "For tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his owne petar".

  17. Rob

    @ Hoi!

    If you are going to try and be pedantic maybe you should check your facts first, hoist is the correct term :

  18. Anonymous Coward

    @ I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Actually it's hoisted or hoist by your own petard, foist means to pass off as genuine, to impose on another or to insert fraudulantly. Still the body was willing.

  19. Smudger

    @ I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Shame on you. I-can't-believe-you-are-such-a-pedant...

    ...when you don't even check your own facts.

    The phrase is "hoist with your own petard", so you're both wrong.

    Google is your friend (or used to be, anyway).

  20. blackworx

    @ Francis Fish

    Well done! Have a cookie.

  21. Jolyon Ralph

    @David Renaud

    Obviously you were taking photos of the American Flag as part of your terroristic preparations to burn it.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Keyboard shortcut

    Yeah, just hit Ctrl-A and everything becomes clear...

  23. James Pickett


    "It's foist not hoist."

    Er, no. Hoist (past tense) means lifted or, in this case, blown up by. Foist means to pass off as genuine. You're right about petard, though...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    This is one of the most satisfying stories I have read.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title goes here

    Or just look in your address bar...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FOIST by your own petard? Oh yeh?

    Rubbish! I have this on the authority of Shakespeare, who wrote the quotation in the first place, that the word is HOIST! See

    I have no objection to I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects's "To be so pedantic indicates I don't have a life but at least it won't be appearing anywhere but online", but is does so help if you are pedantically accurate!

  27. Jim Lewis


    No it's not, it's hoist.


  28. Naadir Jeewa


    Someone forgot to use Adobe 8's redaction features?

  29. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    @I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Actually hoist is correct. It's quite likely a variant of the middle english "hisse" ("heave!") and in the contemporary context generally meant lift or carry away, which is usually what happens to you when a petard goes off in your hands.

    Originally petards were just bombs with a slow fuse designed for undermining castle defences and it was possible to set them off accidentally, whilst carrying them, and consequently be "hoist" all over the roof of the undermining tunnel.

  30. Ed

    Read it?

    If you actually read the article, Larry's name is in clear 'unredacted' text right on the penultimate paragraph.


    When we redact xxxxxxxxxxx's name from a story that shows Street View invading his own personal space, we have no problem telling you we're talking about Larry Page.

  31. Warren

    @ Hoi! by I.A.

    Much fan of pedantry, but I cannot find any international references to 'foist by his own petard' It's clearly in every reference "Hoist" it comes from the medieval seige engineering true enough, and is quoth in shakespeare;

    "There's letters seal'd: and my two schoolfellows,

    Whom I will trust as I will adders fang'd,

    They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way

    And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;

    For 'tis the sport to have the enginer

    Hoist with his own petar; and 't shall go hard

    But I will delve one yard below their mines

    And blow them at the moon: O, 'tis most sweet,

    When in one line two crafts directly meet."

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    from the dire wikipedia:

    "Hoist with his own petard"

    The word [petard] remains in modern usage in the phrase to be hoist by one's own petard, which means "to be harmed by one's own plan to harm someone else" or "to fall in one's own trap", literally implying that one could be lifted up (hoisted, or blown upward) by one's own bomb. Shakespeare used the now proverbial phrase in Hamlet.


    and from

    Hoist by your own petard


    Injured by the device that you intended to use to injure others.


    A petard is or rather was, as they have long since fallen out of use, a small engine of war used to blow breaches in gates or walls. They were originally metallic and bell-shaped but later cubical wooden boxes. Whatever the shape, the significant feature was that they were full of gunpowder - basically what we would now call a bomb.

    The device was used by the military forces of all the major European fighting nations by the 16th century. In French and English - petar or petard, and in Spanish and Italian - petardo.

    The dictionary maker John Florio defined them like this in 1598:

    "Petardo - a squib or petard of gun powder vsed to burst vp gates or doores with."

    The French have the word 'péter' - to fart, which it's hard to imagine is unrelated.

    Petar was part of the everyday language around that time, as in this rather colourful line from Zackary Coke in his work Logick, 1654:

    "The prayers of the Saints ascending with you, will Petarr your entrances through heavens Portcullis".

    Once the word is known, 'hoist by your own petard' is easy to fathom. It's nice also to have a definitive source - no less than Shakespeare, who gives the line to Hamlet (1603):

    "For tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his owne petar".

    Note: engineers were originally constructors of military engines.


    Please do not foist vocabulary nonsense on us - you are ending up hoisted by your own petard!

    Paris - because she makes men fly without a petard.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if

    You did the two fingered salute at the car as it passed by whether the image would be disgarded as I dont want a front view of my hourse on street view.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Hoi!

  35. John Latham

    @I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    "It's foist not hoist."

    Not according to Shakespeare.

    "For 'tis the sport to have the enginer / Hoist with his owne petar".


  36. Sceptical Bastard

    @ francis fish

    "Larry's name is visible on the page"

    No shit, Sherlock! Your deductive powers amaze us all! (Neat <span> trick, El Reg. Like it).

    As to Google's "Do no evil"... like hell

  37. Anonymous Coward

    @Joe Bloggs

    "You'd have to be daft to leave your curtains wide open while you romp around naked with the mrs..."

    Dance like no one is watching, make love like everyone is!

    Mines the one with dubious stains....

  38. Anonymous Coward

    @I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Not according to Mr Shakespeare...

    For 'tis the sport to have the enginer

    Hoist with his own petar;

    Mine's the one with the copy of Hamlet in the pocket.

  39. GettinSadda

    @I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    No, it's "hoist" - check it out in Hamlet, which is probably the most popular source of this phrase.

  40. Ron Eve


    Oh dear.... If one wants to be taken seriously as a pedant then one should at least try to get the facts right.

    A petard was a early middle ages bomb. The expression 'hoist by his own petard' is a modern day derivation from a line in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

    "For 'tis the sport to have the enginer

    Hoist with his own petar; and 't shall go hard"

    (Yes that is the spelling in the original text).

    i.e. "blown up by his own bomb"

    It most definitely isn't 'foist' as then the expression is completely meaningless.

    Stay behind after school.

  41. Russ Williams
    Paris Hilton

    @I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    While "foist" has a meaning of breaking wind, as does the etymology of "petard", the common usage almost certainly comes from Shakespeare (Hamlet, III.iv.185-6):

    "For 'tis the sport to have the enginer

    Hoist with his own petar;"

    (Of other note is the use of "enginer" - someone who operates an "engine" - one of the roots of "engineer" in modern English... which is why we have "protein-oxidisation equalisation engineers" instead of burger flippers)

    Paris, because the rest of that line is "and 't shall go hard".

  42. Kenny Millar
    Jobs Halo

    Just drag your cursor over the black boxes

    and stop guessing. It's right there in front of your eyes.

    Oh, and stop wasting money on Windows. Buy a mac instead they are cheaper and better.

    Shut up. Yes they are.

    Shut up.

    Have you ever used one? No? Then shut up.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In case nobody points this out... really *IS* 'hoist'. Popularized via Hamlet, if I'm not mistaken...

  44. Jerome

    @ "I wonder if"

    We'll find out soon enough, a friend of mine claimed to do exactly that to the street view car yesterday afternoon.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good for Google!

    The Google publicists are right; there is no privacy in this bright new century. If privacy campaigners have their way and StreetView and Google Earth are restricted, we still won't have privacy -- governments, companies, and the rich will watch us, and we won't be able to watch them back.

  46. Danny

    Fisted by my own Picard

    I've been watching out for said vehicles so I can moon them. Google only pixelate faces, but my arse is already pixelated.

    As to the foist/hoist thang, has nobody here heard of the word 'troll' ?

  47. Steven Knox


    Google: "even in today's desert, complete privacy does not exist."

    Google: "Google takes privacy very seriously."

    Therefore, Google takes nothing very seriously.

    Oh, and by the way, it's "hoist". ; )

  48. Emilio González

    some of you might be missing the point

    the document in question is not just an embarrassing ironic "gotcha" - it is meant to emulate a kidnapping plan. the profile of the security guard, distance measurement, service business identification, and, most telling of all, LIST OF STOP SIGNS on their way to work are all things that would help with abduction by subterfuge or force of one of the richest men in the world.

    the missing link: this is a particularly sensitive subject in Silicon Valley, where Adobe executive Charles Geschke was kidnapped for several days back in the early 1990's. this abduction was IN MOUNTAIN VIEW, before Adobe moved to San Jose, with a paltry ransom of US$650,000. the FBI recovered Geschke after baiting the kidnappers with the payment.

    those were just a couple local yokels from San Jose and Campbell looking to make quick cash with a gun and a rural house. now imagine some more desperate, experienced and resourceful men from Sergei Brin's lovely home country of Russia decide to try the same thing.

    this article would do well to link these two events, as this is a more sensitive issue than it seems.

    (side note: fuck mandatory signups. what a fucking annoyance. you can't even get the accented a in my name, either.)

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    joist not hoist or foist

    You're all wrong - the word should have been 'joisted' ie shot to the joists, but Shakespeare hit the 'H' instead of the 'J' on his keyboard.

    Google that.

  50. iamzippy

    So It's Hoist Then

    ...and always was.

    Dude, you may well Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects but just remember that Notlookinglikeatotalasshole is just a click away if you can be arsed to do it.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    It's moist

    after the gooey mess which is all that is left when your big barrel of boomies goes off in your hands.

  52. Jason
    Paris Hilton

    @More Irony

    Great Photo I have to say.

    If you did in fact get to sneak a few of the the Google Campus of the same quality you could probably sell them for advertising purposes!!!

    I'm sure it's actually moist not hoist foist or joist btw!

    Paris, because of the completely transparent reference to moistness!!

  53. Charles King
    Thumb Up

    WTG I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects!

    Yet again it's proven that the best way of hijacking a thread on El Reg is to post something that will bring the pedants out en masse. A third of the comments so far (including this one) have absolutely nothing to do with the article, instead pointing out something known by anyone who stayed awake for more than three minutes in high school.

    Well done!

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Google, remember this:

    if you peer overlong into the abyss, sooner or later the abyss will peer into you.

    Alien, because of the Area 51-like security Google needlessly employs.

  55. yeah, right.

    too many

    Too many damn pedants, not enough beer.

  56. Simpson

    private public privacy

    Woman takes top off on public beach = woman having fun and relaxing

    woman photographed with top off on public beach = punch in nose / you pervert / invasion of privacy.

    You can not expect privacy in areas where the general public or passersby could easily view your activities. If so, we would never see pictures of celebs picking their noses.

    You don't even have the right to privacy in your own home, if you are in an area (no curtains) where the general public or passersby could easily view your activities.

    If you disagree with this hypothesis, you can test it by standing in front of a window while masterbating. Repeat as necessary.

    If these people win, the "I did not have sex with that patio table" guy should get a load? of cash from the media, for invading his private (and intimate) moment with his patio furniture.

  57. Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to the open source world.

    In the open source world there is no need for privacy because everything is open and all information is free. Better to have this informations available freely on the web rather than have it recorded and hidden in a vault somewhere that only MI5, NSA and big corps can access it.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jolly interesting but why do they do it?

    Well, all that Shakespeare stuff was jolly interesting of course but didn't we go off track just a little bit ? (pun there I think).

    Has anybody else wondered why on earth (!) Google would be spending vast sums of money taking pictures of every street on the planet, especially when it seems nobody wants them anyway? Possibly major capital cities for tourism purposes, but the average residential street?

  59. shay mclachlan

    Google toilet cam

    How long before they start lurking in the loo?

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A public place... exactly that. If you are in a public place, you are public and forego any claims to privacy - unless you are accosted or embarrassed in some other way.

    What I want to know is if I am standing in my bedroom watching a young lady undress in the bedroom acrosss the street - who is at fault? Undressing with the curtains open could be construed as indecent exposure whereas sunbathing nude on a naturist beach is not. Watching somebody undress could be construed as voyerism.

    If Google photographs that same young lady - as it might well do - is this not also voyerism. Is it all that different from installing peecams in public toilets?

  61. Jonathan McColl

    @Simpson and his private public

    Simpson doesn't have to stand in front of the window to get caught by Google, if he looks up he'll see Ceiling Cat watching him already.

  62. Sceptical Bastard

    @ A public place

    "Watching somebody undress could be construed as voyerism."

    Waddya mean *could* be? You posit "... standing in my bedroom watching a young lady undress in the bedroom acrosss the street ..." How else would you describe that? (Where are you posting the pics, BTW?)

    "...peecams in public toilets?"

    You seem to have the jargon off pat. Obvious where you're coming from ;)

    As I said above, 'Do no evil' is a sick joke in the age of Google streetcam, satelite cam and - possibly - the predicted 'peecam'.

    PS: I don't want to be left out - it's hoist, not foist.

  63. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Hoisted Gates And Dud Bills.


    This is good at my age to achieve fame for not being pedantic. As for my correctness, I'd like to know how a medieval gate is hoist and for what purpose in an attack on a stronghold by an incvading army.

    They lift the gate up do they? Presumably the gate will be lifted up out of its channels and not come down on top of the invaders?

    And the sources you have all quoted at me seem to be describing a torpedo, a kind of weapon these days called a mine

    And a mine in those days was a shaft cut to undermine a wall. A petard may well have been a variety of torpedo but I doubt the idea was to hoist a gate.

    Maybe we should all question the veracitysagacity of Mr Shakespeare's copy editor. If I was a pedant, I might even consider doing so myself.

    When you pass a dud check onto someone, you foist it off ON to them. You throw it over and in the good old days before Isaac Newton sorted things out you threw down the people who you passed the forgery onto.

    (There not being a golden refund for pre credit carders.)

  64. Mike Smith

    No, really, it's HOI-- Ohh, wait...

    I was going to comment on the Hoist thing, but OG, John Latham, GettinSadda, Ron Eve, Russ Williams, Eddie Edwards, Rob, Smudger, James Pickett, Jim Lewis, Graham Dawson, Warren and a bunch of Anon Cowards beat me too it. Good job I read the comments, otherwise I'd have looked silly!

    I don't really see what the big deal is here. It just saves someone going out and taking the pictures themselves...

  65. Luther Blissett

    Not stating the obvious

    Why isn't that car covered in adverts?

  66. Gareth Jones Silver badge


    There is nothing in street view that you couldn't get by simply visiting the location yourself. Does that mean that the privacy lobby want us all to travel round with our eyes shut.

    The privacy lobby demonstrate the same grasp as perspective as does Father Dougal when it comes to cows.

  67. David Renaud

    @A Public Place

    Thanks Jason and Jolyon.

    Many of the legal (US) and ethical issues in photography are discussed in "Legal Handbook for Photographers" by Bert P. Krages. As one might expect, the issues are complex. For starters, there is a body of law concerning the right to photograph and another concerning the use of images. Personally, I ask permission before photographing humans and get model/property releases if I anticipate using an image for financial gain.

    The situtation with Google street view is novel and it will be interesting to see how the law evolves. Personally, I like the idea of street view and hope that some accomodation is reached that balances privacy issues with utility. Before traveling to unknown commercial and residential neighborhoods, I have used SV to get a clue. Also, I have used it in my blog to show where an image was taken. Here is an example. (warning: it's a streaker pic)

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Not enough beer

    What is this "Enough Beer" of which you speak?

  69. Lars Silver badge

    I am getting a bit ploisted bye all off this

    In linuxtoday there was this story:

    Editor's Note: Is Google Evil, or Just Naughty?

    The way I se it is that every "gold rush" comes to its end.

    Soon "the State" will stop not only military stuff but official buildings and areas where they live themselves from beeing exposed bye the likes of Google.

    In a while Google will show a world with more white areas than a 16th century map.

    Meanwhile Google will ploister all the gold in that mine.

    The only thing that makes me ploister is the fact that BG was too dumb to ploister that gold.

  70. Ian
    Thumb Down

    @ Hoisted Gates And Dud Bills

    dude, think about it! the bomber accidentally gets very hoist against the tunnel roof when the petard goes off. If the damn thing is used correctly it doesn't just lift the gates, it blows the things to bits. As a pedant you should know better! Where in the quote does it say "the gate was hoist a bit and then fell down again". Time to stop digging - the whole you've put yourself in is quite deep enough!

  71. TeeCee Gold badge

    @Luther Blisset

    It is. They've been redacted by XXXXX XXXX.

  72. Antony King

    mars attacks ?

    Has no-one twigged that I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects is just a reincarnation of amanfrommars ? Not heard from 'him' on this thread yet :-)

  73. Dougal


    Surely the real point to all this scaremongering and over reaction is....

    All of this information is available offline. Here's how you get it:

    You walk down the street!

    Is someone going to complain that you use your eyes now?

    Seriously, all this "my god what a security breech" stuff is 99% utter rubbish. If someone is hell bent on stealing from you - they will, and if you take down street view - they'll just do something crazy like, er, drive down your street!

    Has google earth made crime figures rise? No. Will street view? No...

  74. MrWeeble


    There is a set of people that are clamouring for the rights of photographers to take photographs in public places without harassment and another demanding that Google stop taking photographs of public streets as it is an invasion of privacy. I wonder how many are in both sets.

    For the record, I am in the first set but not the second.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Totally petarded.

    >I'd like to know how a medieval gate is hoist and for what purpose

    >in an attack on a stronghold by an incvading army.

    The gate isn't, for 'tis the engineer who is hoist by his own petard.

    Also there is no purpose, it describes an accident, or in the literary context - sabotage.

  76. Anonymous Coward

    There has never been any privacy

    Why do we assume we have always had privacy? Don't you geeks know any gossips? A well known gossip in a small town can easily keep track of 2000 or more people and the amount of details they know will be astonishing. All technology has done is allowed some geeks to keep up with the more traditional techniques.

  77. JCL

    Oh, I don't know.

    @Welcome to the open source world. - Better to stab me in the leg than in the eyes. No, better to not stab me at all.

    I've learnt a couple of things today: redaction - the art of bringing info together and editing it to make it look as if it all came from the same source - I've done this from time to time at work - a couple of decades ago I might have done it at uni - but then it was a hop skip and a jump away from plagiarism. ploister - not sure about this - googled it, but nothing's come back. Finally hoist by his own petard. When I was much younger I thought it was hoist by his own tabard. I had visions then of caterers & shop workers being pulled up by their clothing.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    JCL, I don't think redaction is about the sources being merged, as it were. The definitions I've seen are all 'to prepare for publication.' The source thing *would* be nearer to plagiarism. (Or so it seems to me. Sorry. :) )

    Apparently to 'sanitise' is the military equivalent. (Sanitisation doesn't seem to be a word and sanitation doesn't fit.) I prefer that. Fits the general intent of redaction nowadays. Still, everyone does it. Makes you wonder why there isn't an ellipsis key.

  79. Gobhicks

    Hoist this

    Whatever, I just want to claim the prize for the best contemporary usage of the expression, "hoist with his own petard", in response to the news that a colleague from our German office had been delayed because of an unexploded bomb at Schipol airport...

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actually, it's


  81. Chris Hunt

    @Emilio González

    Oh noes! This will be used by kidnappers!

    Because if GSV did not exist they'd have no way of telling which stop signs are on Larry's route to work other than, erm, looking at a map.

    The only genuinely sensitive piece of information here is Larry's home address - which is something not immediately or obviously available through Street View. Once you've got that, you can generate all this seemingly insecure stuff - but it's nothing that you couldn't do yourself with the Mountain View AtoZ and a box brownie.

    Seems to me that Larry's got a lot more to worry about than I have with G taking pictures of his pad. If he's cool about it, why are we worrying?

    [insert random petard-related comment here]

  82. Robert Harrison

    What we need

    El Reg, can we have a background midi file playing the Benny Hill Show theme tune attached to this comments page? At least then this thread would be entertaining... For a second or so.

  83. C


    did they know where Mr Page lived? Once you have that, everything on streetview is irrelevant.

    If you were planning to kidnap him, you would surely take a drive around before doing so, rather than just studying streetview?

    To link this issue with privacy is asinine.

  84. Echowitch

    @Joe Blogs

    "You'd have to be daft to leave your curtains wide open while you romp around naked with the mrs..."

    And if you do, please let us know so we can send Google round to photograph it.

    Hoist....Foist...crivens can you get any a more charged argument ?? Hmm let me see.......

    Microsoft is a really nice company, and their Windows Vista OS is great......debate ;)

  85. Gareth Jones Silver badge


    There is no definitive explanation of the phrase "hoist by his own petard" although the version where the engineer is killed by his own explosive device is popular.

    The derivation of the name of that explosive device is know to be from the french for "fart". So there are those who claim that the hoisting phrase actually means that somebody has breathed his own fart.

  86. bruce hyman

    two words...

    so what.

  87. Harry Stottle

    @Emilio González - Well Said sir

    the deep point that the vast majority of the population seem to be completely blind to is that breaches of Privacy can lead to very serious breaches of Security.

  88. Jim Cosser

    Blank out

    Not just in the article:

    I assume the article blanking is a joke with reference to the linked PDF as simply copying the text or images in the PDF reveals what is blacked out.


  89. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Public Domain

    I'm an advocate of both freedom of speech and personal privacy. I also worry about the amount of data Google can and does collect and some of the people that they "work closely with".

    People seem to be missing the points a little with streetview a little.

    1) the images are shot on the public highway, not subject to restrictions that people seem intent to impose and, being as how its on the street -not private images.

    If streetview shows me you have a cat and a car, I am the very model of disinterest in this unsurprising fact (as is the cat) and if you accidentally flash your knickers then a polite letter will probably see them get photoshop out and if you stand in your window butt nekkid then you deserve it for public exposure but again I see this being edited out very quickly.

    2) None of the information is restricted, including licence plates (which belong to the government NOT you).

    Guess what, I saw your number plate when you parked outside the shop, I saw it when you drove past me and I saw it in the car park, I didn't care then -I don't care now.

    3) More worrying information is available from Google Earth, here I see you sunbathing nekkid in the privacy of your garden, I get a good idea of the layout of your house and entries/exits and a plan of the best routes.

    4) Google Earth is a brilliant idea implemented very well. You'll get to see places that real life means you will never want/have chance to visit. It only shows what is visible to the public and they are good about censorship (better than I think they need be)

    I think it's too easy for people to bash big companies for the sake of it. But it's also easy to do it to the point of making people numb to the real issues.

    Goggle does stuff which is very dodgy when it comes to privacy and that needs highlighting, but if you bash everything they do (especially good, useful and interesting tools) then the argument just becomes another dry "hey it's a successful company lets all point and sneer"

    Paris, cos she could think before speaking too.

  90. Colin Millar
    Thumb Down

    It's not about whether they should have the right to do it

    It's about common decency. Just because they can take pictures of everything doesn't mean that they should.

    One of the big things about rights is responsibilities - and the biggest responsibility is to use your rights responsibly.

    Google and their ilk are pretty much like web criminals - they get us into a vicious circle of exploit/regulation much as the crims run a vicious circle of exploit/defence.

    Of course Google is a company - big difference. They are granted more rights and defences by our governments than we are and we are the ones who end up regulated to protect them from us.

    The really sad thing is that people don't just fall for it - they sign up for it like turkeys singing xmas carols. Even people who one would hope were guided by rationale and logic rather than marketing and myth refuse to open their eyes.

    How many times do we have to read the same fanboi crap from supposedly educated people who personalise corporations, fall for the celebrity status of a few individuals and assign the corporations human like motivations?

    I expect the answer is - a few more googillion times yet.

    Where's the rant icon?

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