back to article Street View threatens to throw Eurostrop

A senior Google exec yesteday suggested that if the company doesn't get its way over Street View data retention, it may stop prowling the European Union's highways and byways. Speaking to Bloomberg at CeBIT, where Street View has been charming Germans with a fleet of touchy-feely spymobiles, Google Earth founder Michael Jones …

COMMENTS

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  1. John Lilburne

    Bye bye

    Mind the door doesn't hit you on the arse on your way out.

  2. Stu Kennedy
    WTF?

    Sigh...

    Does anybody actually care about Street View?

    What purpose does it serve?

    1. Neil 23

      I've used it quite a bit recently

      whilst flat-hunting. Estate agents are loath to post external pictures of properties so it's saved me visiting quite a few places that I wouldn't be interested in

    2. Elmer Phud

      Insewerants

      When I applied for vehicle insurance over the phone the man looked on Street View to confirm I had off-street parking.

      I've found it useful for checking out where people live before visiting -- is there parking? Which door is it? Even - what time does the parking restrictions end?

      Saves a lot of messing about at times.

      1. LinkOfHyrule

        I use it

        I'm quite an admirer of buildings and architecture, and have used Street View quite a bit to have a butchers at various locations, usually rough modernist housing estates! It's probably saved me a few random muggings/looking like a nerd!

      2. Just Thinking

        Insurance

        "When I applied for vehicle insurance over the phone the man looked on Street View to confirm I had off-street parking."

        That's quite good of them. Don't they usually wait until you make a claim before they check if you told the truth on your application?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You actually bought from those people?

        If I were to apply for vehicle insurance over the phone, and the guy looked on Street View to verify details, he'd find my house isn't there. I live in a private road.

        That might mean that he wouldn't be prepared to sell me insurance. Happily, I wouldn't be interested in buying it from him by then anyway - better to go with someone reputable.

    3. BigRedS

      I quite like it

      I use it when planning routes to avoid having to take maps - I can see what it is that's at that right turn I need to take. I can check parking restrictions, and see what the place I'm looking for actually looks like. Further, I can confirm that it is actually where the postcode/door number combination infers it is.

      I find it really quite useful, and would miss it if it went.

      I'd also like to be able to look forward to resurrecting the imagery in 30 years or so to see how much has changed, but it appears there's privacy concerns there (which appear to not exist for the photos of 1930s Hendon that used to be all over my doctor's waiting room).

  3. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    Makes perfect sense

    ***"A senior Google exec yesteday suggested that if the company doesn't get its way over Street View data retention, it may stop prowling the European Union's highways and byways"***

    A bit like a mugger saying "If you don't give me all of your cash and valuables I'm going to stab myself".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just go

    Sod off and don't come back. I've got Multimap, I've got Streetmap - I don't need evil black cars with cameras bolted on the rood coming down my street.

    The plot of land next to my house is marked on Google maps with the name of a park which was across the road fifty years ago, but no longer exists.

  5. FlatSpot
    Go

    Cheerio

    Bye then... we'll survive without Street View... interesting how big corps from US always think they can just muscle their way around Europe, obviously didnt learn anything from Microsoft's mauling!

    Google will be next.

    Hope the EU stands firm, as opposed to UK gov who would happily allow anything for a nice well paid job after the election.

  6. Bumhug

    Simple solution

    2 cars

    First car drives a few hundred yards ahead of the second car. First car doesnt have a camera on top but a loudspeaker. First car has a passanger that warns people that the second car is on its way and people should close their blinds, move away from the porn shop, stop urinating in the street, or stop trying to break into a property.

    Yes this would be more expensive, but as its google the first car could also play adverts enabling google to reach people who dont have access to internet or use ad blocker of some sort

    Plus would give every one ample time to drop trou and let the second car know what we think of it

    1. LinkOfHyrule
      Big Brother

      Wow!!!!

      That would be really Orwellian!

      "Citizens! Get off the streets now if you don't want to be captured for ever on the google-base! Put away your tackle, stop vomiting and hide your faces!" and so on.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Simple solution

      Sounds expensive having two cars though.

      Surely it would make more sense to have a bloke with a red flag* walk a defined distance in front of the car? That would keep the speed down and ensure that everyone had plenty of time to zip up their fly or whatever.

      Some problems have already been solved in the past.

      *That, or possibly ringing a bell and shouting "Unclean"......

      1. LinkOfHyrule
        Paris Hilton

        Hang on - i've got it!....

        Ditch the Orwellian Opels and get some Funk-tastic Orwellian stretch Limos insted! Have the driver at the front, obviously, telling the public via PA system to "get out the area" while at the back you have the big sticky up pole thing with the cameras on!

        Drive the things round at a slow speed (normal driving speed in central London) problem solved!

        Plus they could also be hired out to both celebs and paparazzi simultaneously...

        celebs go to swanky party in the back of limo, cameras angled down to knicker angle by tabloid snappers, public get to see the back alleys behind nightclubs at 3am and celeb homes on Street view - everyone's happy and its less cars on the road, well kind of!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    About time....

    That is the best news ever.... What is the time scale for them to bu**er off.

  8. Geoff Campbell

    @Stu Kennedy

    I use Street View loads, to locate customer premises. I don't think I'd miss it if it suddenly ceased to exist, but then the same is true of most modern technology, really.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Bye Bye....

    ...just think UKIP could undo all this good work.

    Google, here's your ball back, now go back home to mummy.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Streetview

    seen through a marketeer (or even a burglar's, or even a spooks) eyes is quite different.

    You glazing. Your car. The roof. Your gates. Your door. Your alarm. Your neighbours. Your garden. The state of general repair. Children's toys in the garden?

    A relative even had the contents of their garage shared with the world (the door being open when Googles car went past).

    Suddenly it doesn't seem such a smart idea for a photo of your house to be accessible to the world and his dog.

    I don't want my house on Google Streetview for personal privacy and security reasons.

    And I don't want to hand another country a photographic database of the residential and commercial buildings for national security and economic reasons.

    I just wish we had the same common sense that Germans seem to have. I guess they teach history properly in German schools.

    1. Steve X
      Thumb Down

      who cares?

      > You glazing. Your car. The roof. Your gates. Your door. Your alarm. Your neighbours. Your garden. The state of general repair. Children's toys in the garden?

      Who cares, really? Everyone who drives past my house, or rides the bus every day, can see into my garden, and my living room. If I cared I'd put up a 6ft fence. Streetview sees a one-off moment in time, in the case of my house it's from 6 months ago. Most crooks are local, if they wanted to break in they'd wander by with a camera when I was out one day, not use some low-res image from goodness knows how long ago.

      The world is a public place. I'm not going to go out with a bag over my head in case "THEY" know where I'm going, not do I care if someone from the other side of the world thinks "hey, that lazy sod should mow his lawn", and if I were daft enough to stand naked in the garden fscking the dog then I'd deserve the ridicule I'd get.

      As for national security, you can bet that any country interested in commecial buildings already has their own satellite imagery of it. You think that, say, Israel is going to rely on Google Earth to see how the yanks are building their new London embassy? :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Black Helicopters

        well said

        you just saved me a load of typing.

        thank you very much!!!!

  11. Ivan Slavkov

    Bye bye and good riddance

    They are welcome to. Bye bye and good riddance.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Google go get F****d

    Just why a private for profit company based in the USA would want to photograph and record all the streets and roads in Europe is not clear to me. I can see the intelligence use of such a database. Easy to prepare for that raid on suspect 101.

    I certainly don't want a yankee spy wagon photographing my property and grounds. You'd be a bit concerned if some bloke arrived at your place and proceeded to photograph it from various angles, telling you that they where going to publish it for every scroat to see, but because it is a big mercan corporation, it is OK? Not by me its not!

    1. max allan

      You don't think they're just trying to be helpful maybe?

      Why does everyone have all this bad attitude.

      Would you rather a "yankee spy wagon" drove round taking photos or that they just did it from space with a satellite and said "F*** you we can do what we want anyway" ?

      They don't photograph your house from any angle that someone can't see it while walking/driving past. So what you're really saying is that you're so ashamed of your house that you'd rather nobody saw it.

      The "intelligence" use is useless for most purposes but the most general individual uses rather than police / military action.

      Get over your selves luddites.

      "Oh no chaps, steam engines are taking all our jobs. In a hundred years we'll all be out of work and reduced to whining on forums about stuff that we can't change"

      1. John Lilburne

        Er no.

        The point of all of this is to keep you on Google sites for longer where they get more opportunities to shove ads at you.

        1. Marty

          @ john Lilburne

          that is a nonsense argument.

          fist, if you are that apposed to adverts you most likely be using adblock or one of its elk... and second, google provide services for free, its costs must be funded from somewhere. so let there be ads....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Flame

        I can tell you why

        It is because the small time criminals are nowdays computer literate and are using both this and Google earth to plan their next raid. While google Earth is a wonderful tool up to street resolution, it has very few non-criminal use from there onwards.

  13. Gulfie
    Go

    Strop away!

    Listen - listen to that silence. That's the sound of nobody caring. Now sod off back to the USA and take your invasion of every aspect of our lives with you...

  14. petur
    Thumb Down

    Noooooooo

    Will miss them if they go, used the service quite some times, very handy if you go to places for the first time, saves a lot of wasted time trying to orientate there....

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      FAIL

      Have you never heard of a map?

      Or perhaps asking directions?

      You sound like the type of person who will blindly follow a satnav off a cliff...

      If you honestly need this technology to find were your going, instead of just, at the most, using the google maps satellite imagery then you seriously need to take an orienteering course...

      1. CD001

        I'm sorry...

        I have testicles I am genetically incapable of asking for directions!

      2. Jon 52

        map?

        Most maps will not tell you that the place you are looking for is two doors down from a pet shop, or oposite the dry cleaners.

        When driving it is so much easier to have seen it all before than just try to look at the street name of every street you pass, paticulaly if the car behind thinks 30mph is the target not the limit.

      3. Marty
        Troll

        @ lglethal

        i suppose you teach your kids how to use log table books and slide rules....

        In todays world, the one that gets ahead is the one who embraces new technogy and applies it in areas previously un thought of...

        i have often used google street view to take a look around an area i am about to visit, mainly because satnav can be a little beit un reliable...

  15. lukewarmdog
    Badgers

    Street Unview

    Google really think they're our parents. I wouldn't mind if they'd "lend" me some money and give me lifts to concerts, until then they're going to have to treat us as adults with genuine concerns about their policies.

  16. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    Don't let...

    anything stop you from leaving. Do it now... immediately. Just ship them off... I'm sure the US Army will be more than willing to offer you a rid on one of their big big transporters.

    Have fun in mvland

  17. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    blah

    "A senior Google exec yesteday suggested that if the company doesn't get its way over Street View data retention, it may stop prowling the European Union's highways and byways."

    Fine with me =O/

  18. Tom 15

    Better than Multimap

    Multimap, i.e. Bing, fly low-altitude aeroplanes over your houses and take pictures of your back gardens, through skylights, etc. All StreetView does is take a picture from the main road, the same stuff that everyone can see.

  19. Just Thinking

    Limited use

    I can imagine Streetview might be of some use in areas such as a high street or industrial estate, particularly if the images are updated reasonably often. You can have a look at a resturant before you book, or check that the firm you are about to mail-order from really do have a warehouse.

    There isn't so much expectation of privacy in these areas. If you live in a flat above a shop you are probably used to people gawping in from the top of the bus, so Streetview doesn't make much difference.

    But why do they need to photograph every house in every quiet cul-de-sac? That is what upsets people, and if they just stopped doing it they might have a useful and uncontentious service.

    Mounting a camera on a pole and photographing over someones fence, publishing an image which can't normally be seen from the street, well that's getting a bit sinister.

  20. Robert E A Harvey
    FAIL

    it's all been said

    But someone threatening to stop doing what we don't want them to do anyway isn't going to excite me very much.

    Technically possible /= worthwhile

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    So long, ...

    ...and thanks for all the pics

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Street View vs Google Earth

    Some commentators are got Street View mixed up with Google Earth. Street View bad (unless it's pictures of The Stig) while Google Earth is the tops of people's heads (unless they're sun bathing sunny side up.)

    I'm not sure someone would appreciate me taking pictures of the contents of their garage. Luckily I don't have one.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    We got to keep the the images for 12 months because the tech is crap

    That's like gov.uk implementing a shoddy database now instead of when the tech works.

    Someone at the Gorg doesn't get it.

  24. url
    Thumb Down

    pull out, pull out

    of china

    of germany

    of the EU

    yeah yeah, think we heard this before.

    GOOG isn't a government, and they don't play well at that level it appears.

    They should probably get back to wave, or squared, or any on that increasingly large to-do list of failed products. http://www.googlelabs.com/?sort_by=last_updated&start=0

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Sod Off Street View

    Go then - go into the rubbish pit of history. And the sooner the better.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Show me the money!

    The reason Google want to do this is to raise ad revenue. If Google want to make money from photographing my property, then I want my cut. If you're not going to give me money for photo's of my property then sod off.

  27. Dabooka

    I must confess...

    I'm struggling to give a shit. If it's such a problem, sod off.

    1. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!
      Coat

      I recommend

      "I must confess....I;m struggling to give a shit."

      ExLax. Works a treat. Or bran cereals if you want to stay regular once the initial bung is cleared.

      Sorry? Street What? Haven't they gone back to the Land Of Donuts yet?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good news

    Who needs Big Brother Google anyway?

  29. jake Silver badge

    I'm no fan of google ... Far from it.

    But the maps bit? I have no issue.

    I can get more useful info from ordinance survey maps and a quick drive-by ... and when you think about it, without that ability to do a quick drive-by, google is fucking useless to anyone who might have a plan to harm you and yours. Why? I'm glad you asked ...

    It's because they need PHYSICAL ACCESS to your local area to harm you ... and anyone who is likely to burgle your place (or whatever) ALREADY has that physical access, and is highly unlikely to use (probably) out of date google photos to help with that physical access.

    Case in point ... eyeball the South East corner of 5th Street East @ Patton, here in Sonoma CA. There is a large house there, it was given away in a nationwide HGTV network raffle (read "advertisement"). According to google, it doesn't exist, despite the fact that it was advertised nationwide for nearly a year.

    google isn't something I'd want to use to plan something nefarious with ... ESPECIALLY not if I actually had feet on the ground in the area where I was planning on breaking the law. And if I don't have my feet on the ground there, how am I going to physically access it?

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      The difference

      The difference is that with Street View you can find the easy marks from the comfort of your living room. True you would obviously do a walk/drive by later before you go and try to break into the house (just to check the house is still there!) but you dont need to look over the fence or stop the car for that.

      But if you go walking down a quiet residential street peering over peoples fences/slowing the car down to get a better look at a prospective house that tends to get noticed by people and your face or car is likely to be remembered and when the burglary comes along the cops have a description of someone who was looking "suspicious" in the area.

      That makes a huge difference on your likelihood of getting caught...

      1. Al Jones

        Google Crime Wave

        If Street View is so useful to burglars, there should have been a massive increase in burglaries since StreetView was rolled out.

        Guess what?

        Hasn't happened.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Sorry, but...

    Google should be treated no differently than any other company. if they can't comply with the same legal framework as anyone else, then no special arrangements will be made. Street View is interesting and well executed but it still isn't distinguished or essential enough for any case of special pleading.

    1. Marcus Aurelius
      Grenade

      Legal Framework

      In most countries you are allowed to take photographs from public areas, and what Google is doing is no different.

      In UKia, we're having difficulty taking pictures and not getting arrested without some over enthusiastic plod claiming we might be a terrorist, so I don't

      As someone else has said, if you're house hunting, it means you can see real pictures of a property and its surroundings, instead of the guff the estate agents hands out. Its also good for navigation, as you can see the place you're looking for in the context of its surroundings.

      In short, it's perfectly legal and has many uses, so why are people moaning about it?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      sorry, but, but.....

      google are complying within the legal framework.....

      theree is no laws that prevent me walking down the road with my camera taking photos of everything and everyone....

      so long as i am on public property i can photograph what i like and nobody can tell me how long i have before i delete the photos.

      the problem is that a number of people have shouted very loudly at the distaste to google street view and the governments and media have reacted. I am pritty sure the MP for whatever run down chav ridden area will not want the grandure of his second home we are paying for on streetview for everyone to critsize

      google are trying to jump through hoops to make everyone happy but each time they make it though one hoop, someone puts a smaller one in the way....

      can we have a photographers rights icon?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The reason is..

        Whilst it is still legal to take public photos (just about in the UK) there are still rules about publishing. The law states you need to get approval from people in the photo (or at least try), which is why Google blur the images. What people are moaning about is the fact that they would like this law extended to personal property too (which as you said is still legal, but up until now was no great issue) - now it is an issue. The fact that Google can store this information (unblurred) for so long is also an issue.

        I think most people would accept the following:

        1. Approval must be sought before publication of images of private property (which still allows people to take photos - e.g. for house hunting - but not publish them.

        2. When permission is not given the image must be removed (or blurred as in people) and to reduce the accidental publication of the unblurred image this should be done on the archived original.

        Most people would be happy with this set-up I think

        1. Justabloke 1
          Stop

          why is a title required?

          Actually, you are correct its perfectly legal to take a photograph of anything you can see from public property... PROVIDING the picture is for your own personal use. If you want to publish said picture for any kind of commercial gain , you need to the permission of the owner of the private property you have taken a picture of.

          So wonder by, take a picture of my house, keep it to yourself... no problem. Use the image to make money without asking me first... is a problem. (o trivial example but you see the point I'm making :) )

          In my opinion, Google is falling fowl of this in the UK.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Not true

        Private photographs are usually okay as long as they remain private. As to whether they are legal or the law is being observed in the breach will vary from country to country but, for example, if you publish a picture of the Eiffel tower, you will get a bill.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Of course Freddy, but that's not the point...

        Yes, you can take photographs in a public place, of whatever you want, including people, including children. And I'd be first in the queue to defend that right.

        However, there is a difference between a person with a camera wandering around and taking a few snaps, and countless vehicles driving up and down every street in the country with a great big pole bolted on top snapping over people's hedges and fences, and then all those images being made available to any fool with a browser due to a particular megalomaniac company's goal of world domination.

        For the purposes of house hunting etc, getmapping.com or multimap's aerial photographs seem adequate to me.

  31. Dale 3

    Terrorists

    Couldn't they just play a tune over a loudspeaker while the camera car drives around, to warn people it is coming? Maybe they could hand out ice-creams while they're at it.

    Now what would be very cool is if they could attach one of those new fangled airport scanners to the camera car. Just think of all the terrorists it would catch. No problem with data protection either, because the viewers of the images are all in remote locations. Everyone wins!

  32. alistair millington
    Happy

    I am not the first one to say it

    Google leaving Europe.

    YAY!!!!!

    At least they tried to come up with a reason that wasn't data mining. Though the lame excuse about technology wouldn't convince my 89 year old blind grandad.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Turrah

    Piss off and don't come back.

  34. JohnG Silver badge

    Security

    If someone comes around to my house and starts taking photos, with a view to establishing the best means of unauthorised entry, either I or one of my neighbours will call the police. Living in Germany, I know that the police will actually take an interest, come out to see me and find out what the individual concerned was doing, check his ID, etc. Streetview would remove this risk for the prospective burglar. That's the difference.

    If you are unlucky enough to live in a country where your neighbours don't give a shit and the police wouldn't show up anyway, then Streetview is unlikely to make a difference either way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yup..

      "If you are unlucky enough to live in a country where your neighbours don't give a shit and the police wouldn't show up anyway, then Streetview is unlikely to make a difference either way."

      I used to live in such a country. They also don't bother to go after a crime if their "targets" for that time don't include your little problem, even if you do the work for them and give them the issue including evidence. I'm glad I moved.

      And I bankrupted the thief in the end - no thanks to the police.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Only a snapshot

    It's only a snapshot of a street in time. people who use it for flat hunting or anything like that might be disappointed. I'm trying to sell me house at the moment, and since the 'car' has passed, it's been replastered, tree's cut down and done up. The same applies to any redevelopment. Within the time it takes to publish it's out of date - so what's the point?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Quite

      When the last batch of new content went up there was one major road near us where one huge building showing in the pictures had been gone for about a year, a couple of lesser buildings had already gone, the road layout had completely changed and quite a few large buildings had appeared. All in the space of a couple of a few hundred yards.

      Rely on Street View for what little information it has around WF1 2QW and you'll be puzzled.

    2. Paul RND*1000

      At least 8 months here in middle of nowhere USA

      They happened to do our street (main rural highway) on a day where there was snow on the ground from the only snowfall that winter. That narrowed the spycar drive-by down to a 2-3 day window about 8 or 9 months before the images went up.

  36. ElFatbob
    Thumb Down

    Good....

    now piss off.

  37. Jon 52

    I forsee

    If google have to advertise where there car will be next my guess is the number of moonings, marker signs and other "funnies" would make the service pretty useless anyway having to blur out anything at street level.

  38. Usko Kyykka

    Love it or leave it ?

    Attitude problem, this, really: if it is fine by our standards it is fine everywhere.

  39. Downside
    WTF?

    paranoia versus ignorance

    What a strange world we now live in - 90% of users care little about publicity due to ignorance and openly have spats on FACEBOOK or tweet their GPS location willy-nilly.

    The other 10% fear anyone that looks at them, like JohnG... why fear street view as a burglar tool? It's hardly likely to reveal if you have a dog or a burglar alarm or a gun under your pillow.

    Of course, if your car is snapped parked outside your mistresses house, you have problems that aren't caused by Google but by your own peccadilloes...

    I'm really surprised that Streetview causes more issues that the sat photos we already accept.

    1. JohnG Silver badge

      Choice not paranoia

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but it should be up the individual if they want photos of their own property online, not Google or anyone else.

      You only have to look at a few residential areas of London on Streetview to realise that, contrary to your assertion, it is quite easy to spot burglar alarms and in some cases, the type of locks fitted to the front door or if alarm sensors are fitted to windows.

  40. The Indomitable Gall

    Story of Web 2.0's life:

    Company wants to get into a market.

    Company codes a solution.

    Regulators state it isn't safe and/or doesn't protect data.

    Company says it can't afford to make it safe and/or protect data.

    It baffles me how companies have got a way with pleading "technology". YouTube is a publisher -- it's a branded site with lots of branded content, but they cry "ISP" when asked to take responsibility for that content.

    Chatrooms put people in touch with each other but without any sort of supervision or vettin as would occur in the real world (eg IDing drinkers in pubs). They cry "technology" and they're let off with running a profit without protecting their customers.

    Stuff it, guys, off-line computer programmers deal with regulatory constraints all the time. If we write software that doesn't comply with them -- we get fined.

    On-line companies ignore regulation, steamroller through, and when someone pops up and points out the flaws they say "it's too expensive to fix". That's a flawed business model, and that's the business's fault.

    No sympathy from me.

  41. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Badgers

    Like China ?

    I don't expect Google to leave the EU any more than they'll leave China. Looks like another tantrum and toy throwing fit in the hope of getting what they want.

    However, let Google have their way, and let's see the EU play the game Google's way; claim licensable rights to all images of all property ( like Google are doing with orphaned books ) and charge Google for every property photographed. 10 euro a year per property seems a reasonable license fee.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: like china

      It is a bizarre negotiating tactic, with a very limited lifespan isn't it.

      "We are GOOGLE - let us do what we want!"

      "no"

      " we aren't going to provide our service then"

      "ok"

      "... errr .."

      It's a weird mixture of paternalism and infantilism coming from there these days ...

      And I am getting *really* sick of them using "not technically possible" as a euphemism for "not financially beneficial".

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    It comes down to this:-

    What Google is doing may well be legal, but that doesn't make it right. If some muppets want to see a property before they visit, then they might just want to visit the area first, in real life to see what the prevailing atmosphere is, better still go at night when the nocturnal ferals come out.

    But most of all, people like to be asked. If they asked the people in my street whether they'd like the street to be on street view, they'd get a resounding NO. But they don't ask, do they? They just come and take, and try to make money out of what they have taken. Privacy is something that people enjoy. Not everyone lives their lives via a phone, netbook or Facebuck. Yes you may be free to come and take photographs of my house, but if you do, I'll be there to ask what you are going to do with the information. If its something I don't like, I may consider legal action against you. But with google, you have no control of who has that info and what they intend to do with.

    So as the general sentiment goes F**** off Google.

  43. wgae
    Thumb Up

    Goog bye, goog bye!

    No problem with this. Streetview - we don't need it, we don't want it, so pub-leaze do yourself a favor and bugger off.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    More to see on Bing Maps and Google Earth...

    So you want burgle my house? Well, Streetview hasn't got me yet, but, one day it might. And what will it show? A house, and drive (that looks pretty good since it was relaid last year). That's it. No more.

    Go to Bing Maps, what do you get? 4 aerial views, clearly showing my back garden, with it's garden furniture, kids toys, fish pond (Koi are very sellable), conservatory, barbecue... etc... etc... Same thing on Google Earth's satellite photos.

    So, what's more use to burglars? A front view of a house or aerial/sattelite photography that shows every detail of what's round the back, hidden from the prying eyes of Streetviews cameras?

    Paris? Well, she's not averse to having camera pointing up her cul-de-sac

    1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Streetview

      Actually, both are useful. According to an ex criminal I was listening to. Not so much for showing the stuff in the garden (let's face it, the valuable stuff is likely to be in the house or shed, so not visible from above) but more for finding potential entry points.

  45. RW
    WTF?

    Over-reaction

    I've found Google StreetView very....well, frankly, very entertaining. It's allowed me to find the house I was conceived in many decades ago as well as most of the places I've ever lived. Interesting to see how much change, and how little change, too, there's been.

    What I notice, consistently, is how few people are actually shown in Streetview. Maybe it's different in Germany, but in the US and Canada, it's uncommon to see anyone at all (barring drivers of vehicles), and exceptional to see someone imaged sharply enough to allow recognition.

    The Germans need to get down off their high horse. Google is already happy to delete "embarrassing" images brought to their attention, and makes a reasonable effort to blur auto license plates and house numbers.

    Personally I wish they'd leave the embarrassing images up for their entertainment value, but that's just me.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @The Indomitable Gall

    If the Internet didn't operate like that, it would be fucking shit and no one would use it. Nothing would ever get done, no one with an interesting new idea would be able to jump through all the regulatory hoops set up decades previously with no regard for new technology. You'd probably have to sign a dozen forms and pay a grand for a license just to put up a webpage about your cat. Laws are always a step behind reality, and thankfully those in charge usually recognise when that's the case.

    And what kind of bizarre society are you living in where people require "supervision or vettin[g]" to get in touch with one another in the real world? People are ID'd in pubs because alcohol is served, not because they might be able to talk to one another. Fucking hell, try going to a cafe or a park or something, your mind will be blown by all the unregulated opportunities for social contact.

    As for Street View, I think it's a fantastic tool, and I'd hate to see it forced out of Europe thanks to some petty-minded paranoid arseholes who think burglars, far from being opportunistic smackheads who just wander around their local area looking for easy targets, are in fact going to see the blurry photo of their boring house next to all the other identical boring houses on Street View and think "YES that's the one for me, who cares if that photo's a year old and I don't know when people will be in, or if its alarmed, or what the locks are like, or any other information that might be useful to a burglar. I'm DEFINITELY going to burgle this house, because I saw the front of it on the internet".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Simple answer

      You have laws in every country. If you don't incorporate that in your business plan you are either a fool or a criminal, and neither deserve much time IMHO.

      Google has already hit problems in 2 other countries (Japan and Switzerland) so it's not like they were unaware of the issues, yet they decided to see if they could get away with (law breaking) business as usual before they engaged in discussion. I suspect this is a particular US corporate affection to see if you can get away with it (after all, people like Madoff and Bush did for years), but it isn't going to fly elsewhere.

      "You're not in Kansas anymore" - if they would be so kind to take that into consideration BEFORE they create yet another problem it would be easier for all.

      BTW, stating that "so many people use it and everyone should just stop whining about the law" is an argument you could also use to legalise cocaine use. I'm not interested in either, if Google cannot abide by the law it is welcome to pack its virtual bags. It's not like they haven't been told what to do to make things right, and despite generating a supporting crowd of repetitive stain injury sufferers (no, that "r" is deliberately missing) who would rather see their privacy nuked than being deprived of a toy it is *not* going to get away with it.

      Want to earn in a stable currency? Then abide by the laws. Simple.

  47. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    The pole on top of the car

    I really don't understand why Google have to photograph at 2.5 meters. If they took the shots at about average adult eye level (1.7 meters or so), there would be much less peeping over the fences (which have usually been dimensioned with humans in mind), and people would object less. It would also make the pictures look more like what a visitor walking or driving the same route would actually see.

  48. Chris Reynolds
    WTF?

    Streetview rocks

    Streetview is a great tool. I'm a British citizen living in Australia and it's proving an invaluable tool for checking out a location before visiting. Yesterday I had to go to Brisbane to pick up an eBay purchase so took a look at each junction prior to travelling to familiarise myself with each turn... something I've done on many occasions and which has caused me to ditch my nagging Tom-Tom.

    The main way I can see privacy laws being enacted is by virtue of the Googlecams being far higher than any person could hope to stand. Perhaps if the cams were to be positioned <2m off the ground there would be fewer concerns.

    Once you've lived with Streetview, you really don't want to go back.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Google isn't your friend.

    Hummm, so they will remove the Astra's with poles and probably replace them with tallish box vans with the cameras suitably hidden within instead. They probably have contracts to forfill with lord knows how many secret services around Europe, and no doubt the USA wants the 'full fat' data too. Google already feeds e data on searches and detected trigger words in newsgroups to the UK Police, its got to be one of their main govenmental income streams I should think providing upto date photographic surviellence data.

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