back to article York council gets sniffy with Street View

York council is a bit miffed that Google's Street View spycars have hit the historic city's highways and byways without asking for permission to film, local paper The Press reports. York Street View monitors have apparently been watching the Orwellian Opels doing their master's dark will over the past couple of weeks, …


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  1. Andrew


    “It would have been nice and appropriate and perfectly legal for Google to go to the residents of York and ask their opinion on this, if for no other reason than to build trust.”

    So, are the council going to seek permission from all the local hooligans to film them on CCTV?

  2. Dave
    Paris Hilton

    And unless they have

    Specific Bylaws banning this sort of activity for commercial use, or our Google overlords were driving across private property, there ain't a damn thing York Council can do about it!

  3. john loader

    There's a simple answer

    They should call the police and tell them that what is being photographed could be of use to terrorists. As indeed Google street view will be.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    dumbass council workers

    "A City of York Council spokeswoman said: “As a rule of thumb, and out of general professional courtesy, we would normally expect organisations to contact us to seek permission to film in the city. They would also need special permission, and a permit, to use a vehicle for filming in the pedestrianised heart of the city. However, we are not aware of Google making any such requests.”"

    as another rule of thumb, it is not against the law and you do not need any permission to film or photograph anything in a public place.

    and as far as driving a car in a pedestrianised area, camera or no camera, all they can do is issue a fixed penalty notice for driving in a restricted area, the irony of it is they could only issue such a fine if they have the google car on CCTV driving in said restricted area...

    people just need to get over it, google are not breaking any laws by doing street level photographs and to introduce a law to stop people from taking photographs in public places should be violently apposed...

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Simon Davies & credibility

    ....prompting Privacy International director Simon Davies to declare: “It would have been nice and appropriate and perfectly legal for Google to go to the residents of York and ask their opinion on this, if for no other reason than to build trust.”...

    good point simon, It would also have been nice for BT and Phorm to be open and honest with the customers. Yet you a so called privacy activist, think it is fine and dandy for Phorm and BT to invade peoples privacy, on a much bigger scale then google.

    Sorry simon your credibility on any privacy matter is shot, due to your association with the above company.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    let me get this right

    It's ok for the gubmint to put up cameras and watch everyone, everywhere without their permission, but google has to get permission to drive down the street to take piccies?

    That's about right now, innit?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But according to Jacqui Smith...

    ...there are no restrictions on taking photographs in a public place.

    So are York City Council actually more Orwellian than

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "Well, we don't yet have a York Street View sighting on our splendid Spot-the-Snoopmobile mashup,"

    Actually, you have two - one was taken in the Tesco car park at Clifton Moor and the other appears to be somewhere up near the University. I've seen the spy cars a couple of times, but have been unable to take pics as I've been driving myself. However, if a driver in a blue Renault flipping the bird to the camera appears on Street View near the A64/A1036 junction then that'll be me :-)

    As for filming in the 'pedestrianised heart of York' (or 'Medieval Disneyland' if you prefer) all they need to do is stick a 'TAXI' plate on the roof and Bob's yer uncle.

    Anyhoo, as anyone from this neck of the woods will tell you, City of York council are grade-A, pure-quill tossers to a man.

  9. Steve Foster

    "...need special permission..."

    On what basis?

    Sounds like York council have been listening to the rozzers "you can't use a camera in a public place" nonsense.

  10. Wokstation

    So El Reg, which is it to be?

    Are you standing up for the rights of photographers to photograph freely in public? Or are you saying that Google should need permission, therefore restricing the rights of photographers to freely photograph in public?

    Unfortunately, it's one or the other.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Similar in Cov

    There's a similar edict put out in Chav(Cov)entry. The city centre "management company" CV1 insist that you must apply for a permit before filming in the city centre. In the recent godiva festival officials were seen challenging the odd person with a tripod trying to get a few photos of the public festival.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    It's a Shambles

    got the coat already

  13. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Similar in Cov

    "In the recent godiva festival officials were seen challenging the odd person with a tripod trying to get a few photos of the public festival."

    They ought to be careful, then. Since photography is legal, presumably wilful obstruction of the act isn't, so these "officials" are committing an offence in front of a person with a camera. If it is a modern digital job, it can almost certainly record sound and video footage of the offence for later exhibition in court.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    @ dumbass council workers

    "to introduce a law to stop people from taking photographs in public places should be violently apposed..."

    Proof that photographers are terrorists, lock em all up i say :)-

    Oh and the pedantic part of me wants to say its opposed :)-

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Ha Ha

    What a load of bollox, this 1/2 arsed government has given local councils more powers than the Stasi to go snooping and filming.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Dave

    So.....If I read this right

    York Council are telling people (Illegally) that they can't take photographs in York.

    A Popular Tourist Destination, with lots of Viking exhibits.

    Way to go cockmunchers, you've just killed the tourist industry.

    And yes, I am of the opinion that NONE of these self oppointed idiots will interfere with my LEGAL RIGHT to carry a camera and photograph what the hell I like*

    *With the exception of certain obvious areas that are laid down in law, such as prisons

  18. DavCrav

    Commercial versus non-commercial

    Standard IANAL disclaimer here, but isn't it the fact that it is fine for anyone to take pictures of a public place for non-commercial purposes, but for commercial purposes, you need the permission of those people appearing in the photograph. Also, there might be an issue of implied consent: if they have pictures of, say, a corporate headquarters, that it might make people think that the corporation is involved with Google.

  19. Dave Gregory

    Medieval Disneyland?

    I'm a Yorkie meself. That's a bit harsh. We have some lovely regency buildings too! And if it was really medieval we'd have loads off poor- and ill-looking drunks and lunatics staggering around. Hmm. I'll get my coat now.

    The council are just complaining about Google to distract us from the financially disastrous cock-ups they've made over the last few years. That and the fact that the Press here has no real news to report (which is not necessarily a bad thing).

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Please answer

    But our position is crystal clear. We support the right of everyone to take photos in public without fear or favour - except Google, of course. You can't be too careful where they are concerned.

    Philosophically coherent, no?

  21. jake Silver badge

    Seems kinda silly ...

    Surely York is one of the most photographed cities in England, behind London? It is certainly one of the most photogenic ... at least within the city walls ... I would think that the town would welcome the free advertising! Might bring in a few more tourist dollars.

    Wait ... Maybe that's why they are raising a stink about it ...

  22. Mr. Wurst

    abc Lesson 1 - persons <-> corporations

    well, for those people that do not understand the difference

    on the one side is john, a person that takes photos for private use. on the other side is corporation XXX that takes photos or makes a film on your city to earn money with it (investment, commercial interests). it is NOT the same case. first, a corporation has to ask for permission (hell, even persons that make photos for private use have to ask permission in a lot of places) and i probably would even ask money from them to get permission (google makes millions on advertising and should give some back, like the FCC with radio band authorizations).

    but no, they take what they want without giving back anything because the CEO wants to have a combat jet and that is more important. and if you feel insulted like people in japan do, go fuck yourself and don't expect google to respect your culture. and that doesn't help to "build trust"

  23. Wokstation

    @Drew, and then @DavCrav

    @Drew... coherently incoherent? hehehe

    @DavCrav - you're right, you're not. You're also rather wrong. I can take your photo on the street and then publish it commercially, with or without your consent. What I CANNOT do is make you appear to endorse a product, policy or concept. I also cannot use the image to commit libel against yourself or harrass you.

    If I publish a sunset shot of The London Eye, I'm not making out there's any affiliation between myself and them.

    Now if I took a picture of you eating a burger and then used that image as part of an advertising campaign for McDonuts... well, that would indeed require your consent because I'm making out you endorse a product.

    However, if you're just part of a crowd walking past McDonut's, it's unlikely that I'd need your consent as you're simply part of the street furniture. This is especially the case if you cannot be clearly identified (eg, have your back to the camera).

    (I'm not a lawyer. I'm a street photographer).

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop using google

    Didn't want to capitalise that last word there, felt strangely wrong.

    You're all quite happy to moan about google's orwellian practices, yet likely still use their search engine, because - somewhere back in time - you were informed it was "the best."

    Stop using them, use another search engine. Other's work fine, I've tried a few or the smaller firms'.

  25. Craig

    Small point

    "Special permission" refers to driving in a zone not normally permitted for vehicles, stop whining about it and read the damned article properly.

    As to the reaction, well frankly I'm of the opinion it's bloody inconsiderate of Google to not seek the opinion of the public even if purely out of not wanting to cause trouble. No it isn't illegal, but it's likely to cause a stir as anyone with half a brain should realise. It's also not illegal for Ann Summers to put their underwear adverts on the side of a vehicle and drive it round town, but it doesn't mean they're going to do it.

    Yes I know there is a difference, but I'm just pointing out it's about consideration and sensitivity. Google deciding they can do whatever the hell they please without even a hint of decorum just bothers me, and I do worry about what they might pull next.

  26. Matt

    Google should publish a timetable

    Google need a 'StreetView Timetable' on their site; they should also advertise the timetable in the local newspaper: This would allow people wishing to remain anonymous to remain indoors!

    The rest of us would check the timetable to show on Googles own cameras just how we feel about our privacy.

    Anyone want a "Hello Mum" banner? .... I can get them cheap!

  27. Wokstation

    @Mr Wurst

    Private individual or company, it's still a person that takes the photograph... and that person does not need permission - so you're wrong an' all!

    Heck, even to those NOT in the field it should be pretty darned obvious - otherwise press photographers who are employed directly by a newspaper would be constantly asking people for permission to take photographs... which is of course nonsense! They don't do that, they don't need to do that - they don't need permission!

  28. Col

    I may disagree with what you photograph...

    ...but I will defend to the death your right to mis-attribute this quote to Voltaire

    "Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace." Oscar Wilde on Uncyclopedia

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Tripods make great nut-crackers

    And that's probably how I would end up using mine.

  30. jake Silver badge

    @AC re: Stop using google

    Indeed. One simple answer:

    Works for my mom ... She likes using the "advanced" controls when doing genealogy research. She's 70 years old, and has been using computers for ~5 years.

  31. Nick

    Need a licence to take photos?

    I can see that they'd need permission to drive down the pedestrianised areas, but does the council think its powers extend to stopping people from taking photos?

    Next we'll have people being arrested for using a camera in a public place. Well, they could be peadophile terrorists!

  32. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: dumbass council workers.

    "....only issue such a fine if they have the google car on CCTV driving in said restricted area..."

    Of course, were the vehicle to take any pics while doing this and Google were then to use them, the council would have them bang to rights. In much the same way as if you post a video on YouBoob taken through your windscreen with your dashboard in shot, clearly showing you doing 120 up the M1, you'd get your collar felt regardless of whether any other evidence of this little escapade existed.

    This could be the next bit of fun to be had with Google streetview. Spotting pics that can only have been taken from a vehicle placed in an illegal position and pointing them out to the relevant authorities.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Google Streetview and Sat Navs

    Having seen Lille through the Street View I'm really impressed by the technology and mapping work. Equally - I think it'll benefit manufacturers etc who then decide to use Street View in their GPS enabled phones/sat navs as an aid to navigation.

    Having a picture of the street where you want to head to is a really great idea. I've got no problems with the cars photographing everything.

    Regarding York - its a pain driving near the centre anyway and most people just head for Rawcliffe Bar or some other park and ride.

  34. Joel

    Yes you do!

    Well, there are two York sightings on your map.....

  35. Gareth Jones Silver badge

    @AC re: Stop using google

    And if you feel bad about search engines making money use everyclick and give to charity.

  36. Gareth Jones Silver badge

    Driving in Ped Areas

    Don't know about York, but round here you can access the ped areas at certain hours. Our local council makes it nice and simple for you (and google) the automated bollards are down when you're allowed in.

    Actually from what I've seen of York CC they could learn an awful lot from other Councils in all sorts of areas.

  37. Mike

    Think about the place in history

    OK, the Council says that Google should have asked permission for something that they were allowed to do, this would have involved extra pointless work by the Council and Google, if they said no then Google could have said "we'll do it anyway", if they said yes, nothing would have changed, even commenting on it is a waste of the Councils time (aka, your money).

    What if Henri Cartier-Bresson asked for permission? if that's what some councils insist on these days what would we have lost to history? we need to protect the rights of Google as these are exactly the same rights of you and me to record history.

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