back to article Milkman skewers Google Street View over garage break-in

A UK-based milkman and former football manager has questioned whether Google Street View played a role in a series of attempted burglaries on his home - one successful - after Google's virtual window onto the world's very real streets exposed a photo of his wide open garage. Gordon Rayner, 54, suspects that burglars may have …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    ohhhh puuuuleeeezee!!!

    Come on people!!! Seriously !!!???

    How about just closing the damned door !!???

    Why does everyone insist on blaming the people with the money for life, the universe and everything.

    People... sh*t happens OK

    1. Dale 3

      Close the door

      The burglary probably wasn't anything to do with Street View but I guess it could have been.

      Suggesting that he "close the damned door" is disingenious since Google isn't going to send a car round to reshoot the picture of the closed door, and how would the man have known in the first place that the Google Car was coming? Obviously his recourse now is to have the image removed from Street View.

      There's a difference between someone leaving their garage open 24 hours a day with all his stuff on display, and someone who tries to keep it concealed to avoid tempting thieves but happens to be snapped during the 15 minutes that it happens to be open. (There is a reason police advise keeping packages and valuables hidden from view when left in parked vehicles - to dissuade break-ins.)

  2. Ojustaboo

    I suspect criminals do use it

    I know a few people worried about similar things.

    For example, my brother in law lives in a small village and there have been a lot of theft of heating oil. Now street view has come online, you can sit at your PC, slowly go down his entire street, peer through the side gates or over hedges and see very easily which ones would make an easy target.

    Just driving past even slowly would not give you as clear view, even if you stopped outside, unless you were sitting on top of a double decker bus,

    I would be very surprised if a criminal that's not acting on the spur of the moment, didn't make use of street view before committing their crimes.

  3. irish donkey
    Big Brother

    £350 bike goes for £50

    The idea that crooks are trawling through Street View looking for marks in ridiculous. Scum that steal stuff just walk around and see a likely house/car/bike and steal it and walk away.

    There was a lot of burglary before the invention of street view. What is more likely the reason for any perceived rise whether true or not is the police's lack of interest in investigating crimes!

    So unless you break into a police station when the plod aren't on a break its a nice safe recession proof job. And there is no tax or NI to worry about!

    Big Brother not watching whom they should be watching!

    When my Lappy got nicked the Police told me it happens so often now they don't even bother investigating. Shame

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I bet they would investigate

      ...if your laptop was stolen at the doughnut shop.

      Just sayin.

    2. The BigYin

      You can bet they are...

      ...the police use Street View for planning raids FFS! You can bet your arse that the (smarter) crooks are using it too. Rather savvy, the modern day scum.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @The BigYin

        "the police use Street View for planning raids FFS!"

        Post proof or retract.

        If they are, what a bunch of useless fucks; see my post later in this thread.

  4. Brand Hilton

    The obvious question...

    is, "How may hours per week, average, would you say you leave your garage door open?"

    B&E types aren't typically the most meticulous planners. I think it's a lot more likely that the guy leaves his garage open a lot of the time, and the crooks happened to drive by at an opportune moment. They spotted the loot and came back that night to make a withdrawal. But since, apparently, no reporter thought to ask Mr. Rayner this obvious question, I suppose we should just blame Google and be done with it.

    1. Jimbo 6

      Q: Does 'the guy leave his garage open a lot' ?

      A: "he was pressure-washing his driveway". Unless he has a serious case of Obsessive Compulsive regarding his driveway, he's probably not doing that for more than half an hour a week. A lot of people do leave their garage door open if they are, say, working in the garage or running a hosepipe out of it - it doesn't mean they make a habit of it.

      (Caveat : although I hate Google nearly as much as my ex-wife, there is still only a 'correlation', not proven cause-and-effect)

      1. deadmanjones

        There is a fair bit of OCD in the neighbourhood when it comes to driveways

        http://bit.ly/c81jzw

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re:There is a fair bit of OCD in the neighbourhood when it comes to driveways

          Post unobscured links please.

          1. deadmanjones

            300 character link follows

            http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=brackendale+parade&ie=UTF8&hl=en&hq=&hnear=Brackendale+Parade,+Bradford,+West+Yorkshire+BD10+0SR,+United+Kingdom&ll=53.844159,-1.745024&spn=0.000646,0.001206&t=h&z=20&layer=c&cbll=53.844108,-1.745137&panoid=pl4_44kD05t7SHXl3wOnSQ&cbp=12,156.55,,2,16.55

  5. james2kuk
    WTF?

    Sure, they spend their days on street view...

    ...looking for somewhere to budgle. MORE LIKELY: They walked/drove past/were tipped off on the contents of his garage, i'd likely say there were far more people passing his open garage in a day than there will be looking at it through street view eyes in a month.

    If it's out in the open enough to be snapped up by street views cameras then surely it's visible enough to be spotted by Joe Bloggs walking his dog.

    If anything, his insurance company should be investigating the fact he left his garage door wide open advertising his stuff to prospective theives.

    Don't get me wrong, i'm not defending Google here, i'm merely standing up against the ridiculous lack of common sense seem to be displaying in recent times.

    1. Joe Blogs
      Unhappy

      Oi!!

      Leave me out of it!!!

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Looking at the link above...

      Nice caravan, 4WD with expensive looking tyres. These people would appear to have money, so are likely to be a target for criminal intentions. Though, I seriously doubt Google is involved - does anybody REALLY think people will plan a crime via Google streetview, and then go and nick some crap from a garage? All that high tech planning and the guy gets stuff taken from his garage...

      OMFG, it's probably just some random opportunist, and Google is an easy target because, hey, there's damn near zero other information on who took the stuff and you gotta shout at somebody, right?

  6. Adam Williamson 1

    Interesting...

    “We’ve now launched Street View in around 20 countries and nowhere has there been any increase in crime as a result.”

    That's an interestingly definitive statement, isn't it? Clearly, Google's tentacles are now so extensive that they can be confident of the exact incidence of crime in at least 20 countries...;)

  7. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge
    Coat

    Can't be Google's fault.

    If you don't want everything own to show up on Google, don't own anything. Geeze, these privacy nuts seem to think they have "rights" or something.

    Google maps is great, so your privacy concerns are irrelevant.

    Something something something have you tried this kool-aid?

    Yeah, that's my coat...

  8. jmarke

    Stick up for Google - just for once

    Yeah Yeah Yeah! we've heard it all before. Is has to someone else's fault doesn't it. Could it be that better security on the garage would be a good idea, an alarm perhaps or just a decent lock. Yes they do come back several times in a row as police statistics will indicate because people are often too stupid to get the message.

    I distrust Googles information gathering powers just as much as the next man, but fairs fair just think what the government would have on us if they were only half as good as google. At least google only want to make money.

    I for one love street view - in my work I have to visit lots of people in their homes and good though GPS is you just can't beat having been their before even if it is virtually. I just wish the photo's weren't always so old - and that fact alone must surely make a mockery of any claim that Google inspired the break in.

    1. Richard Bragg

      They also return

      because they think you may have used the insurance or opportunity to replace the stolen item with something better and newer. Additionally they hope that security has yet to be improved.

  9. jake Silver badge

    More likely ...

    The perps are probably locals who not only walk/cycle/drive by on a regular basis, but also could make a mental note of the owner's comings and goings, and thus plan the heist when the home was likely to be empty.

    Occam's razor & all that, innit.

    1. The BigYin

      In this case...

      ...you may well be right. It smacks much more of a crime of opportunity, and if it wasn't - a lot of effort went into stealing £50 worth of bike! This does not negate the fact that Street View and Google Maps could be a valuable assets to the criminally minded.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @The BigYin

        "This does not negate the fact that Street View and Google Maps could be a valuable assets to the criminally minded."

        I totally disagree. As a matter of fact, quite the opposite appears to be the case.

        The Wife & I parked in the lot outside General Vallejo's house in Sonoma, and took the bike path to 2nd Street East. We walked 2nd East to Mc Arthur and then back to the car (we were walking a couple of the dogs). Along the way, it was painfully obvious which properties could be burgled with impunity (it's amazing how much expensive junk people leave lying about!). It took about 45 minutes, and I rather suspect I could have gotten away with several thousand dollars worth of tools, bikes, expensive grills, ladders, etc. Maybe tens of thousands.

        When I got home, I cased the same route along 2nd East using google. It took around an hour and a half, and the street on google bears no resemblance to the street this morning ... Today, there is an entire house missing (new foundation, though), completely different landscaping with trees gone, hedges gone, new fencing, fencing missing, second stories where none exist on google, a new garage or three, a couple house remodels, even a new bit of sidewalk. If I were trying to plan ANYTHING more nefarious than "roughly what does my destination look like", google would be worse than useless.

        I invite any of you to try the same exercise in your area. I suspect the results will be the same. google maps is just that ... a map. I suspect OS maps would be more useful than google for planning a heist.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Hmm ... doesn't look that much worth nicking

    Well, looking at the streetview image it doesn't look like anything really worth trawling specifically around streetview for and to visit just to nick a few bits and pieces. I'm guessing he was more likely targeted randomly or they knew of him. You can't see what sort of bike it is or whether it is decent. There are loads of garages open in that area - bizarrely even some pigs roaming around!

    Not sure what the point of trying to sue Google is either - what is he going to accuse them of? aiding and abetting

  11. unc0nnected
    Thumb Down

    The sky is falling!

    Yes, that's it.. because the crooks are spending all their time scouring the internet for that 350£ bike. ooooorrrrr one pissed off man could just be looking to blame anyone he can get his hands on and get as much publicity while he's at it.. Can we have some real news now?

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  13. AndrueC Silver badge
    IT Angle

    A garage containing valuables?

    ..who'd a thunk it. Without Google Street View to show us these things we'd never have guessed. I thought garages were kept empty out of respect for Gordon Brown's head(*).

    I've seen inside my neighbour's garages and all of them have items of value. Most of them have crappy locks as well. I suppose GSV might have encouraged someone to have a go but I doubt it. I'm pretty sure burglars know all about garages and the way they've become a storage locker for most people. Sadly few people bother to improve the security on them either.

    (*)I'm really weird. I actually keep /a car/ in my garage.

  14. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  15. Barrie Shepherd
    Megaphone

    Doomsday

    I think Street View will come to be seen as the Doomsday Book of the modern millennium.

    It is quite simply a fantastic application of technology, I'm just thankful that the project is run by an independent organisation - not Government - if the latter we would probably be looking at the pictures in sepia at 40x30 resolution.

    Maybe it may help crims but only a little and no more than looking at maps and driving by. I'm sure a good crim will stake-out their target, drive by themselves and make their own assessment.

    I consider it's value to the public far greater than the odd crim activity (and embarrassing picture of a drunk in the gutter)

    As for invasion of privacy - how can this be? The streets are not private and, at present, it's perfectly legal to take any picture from a street and publish them.

  16. John Tserkezis

    Security though obscurity doesn't work.

    Some people never learn.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I found pigs in the street!

    I couldn't resist having a poke around this guys street. It's a very nice area. But then I found what looks like a whole flock of big fat pigs snuffling around.

    http://tinyurl.com/bradfordpigs

    1. Eddy Ito

      Yum

      I can see the trademark now, "Bacon by Google"!

      1. jake Silver badge

        @ Eddy Ito

        That's pronounced "Bacon sarnies by dot dot dot" ;-)

  18. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Re: £350 bike goes for £50

    "The idea that crooks are trawling through Street View looking for marks in ridiculous. Scum that steal stuff just walk around and see a likely house/car/bike and steal it and walk away."

    Dunno about that, I've had my house stolen a good three or four times, and I blame Google for each and every instance, even the ones in the 80s.

    1. Glyn Smith
      Joke

      Our house, in the middle of our street...

      Blimey. There must be some pretty tooled up scum if they can steal a house - You'd need a pretty big shed to store it in

    2. The BigYin
      Joke

      House stolen?

      Cripes. I've heard of shoplifting, but houselifting?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh FFS

    There might be the odd case where someone nefarious spots something interesting on Street View. There's a f*** load more cases where said nefarious geezer spots something interesting by walking down the street.

    Street view is too slow and the data too old for a burglar to have a decent hit rate, compared with the alternative of just taking the odd walk.

    Just imagine the information quality. On SV, I spot a nice bike in a garage. 6 months ago. On foot, I can also spot nosy neighbours, judge how busy (and hence risky) the road is, look and LISTEN for sabre-tooth guard penguins and El Plod.

    SV is a toy, it may have some practical uses, but "casing a joint" with intent to burgle is most definitely NOT one of them.

    1. Winkypop Silver badge
      Linux

      sabre-tooth guard penguins!

      Admit it.

      You have been casing my joint, haven't you !!?

      1. I didn't do IT.
        Happy

        Casing...

        ... or smoking it, one or the other.

  20. meteort
    Joke

    New business opportunity

    Venetian blinds with a photo-realistic depiction of your EMPTY garage. Hang em just inside the garage door and zim zam zoom => GSV Protection!

    Also offering super sized versions with an image of an empty lot, police car in front of your house, or...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Oh you mean sonething like....

      http://izismile.com/2009/07/14/posters_on_the_garage_door_35_pics.html

      1. FoolD
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re. Garage Door Poster

        Aint laughed so much for a long time, cheers.

        I want one!

  21. phuzz Silver badge
    Badgers

    three times?

    I think after the first couple of break ins I'd have left something like a open tin of paint precariously balanced by the window or similar. It was probably the same thieves anyway, so follow the trail of paint - find bike (and probably no computer...)

  22. TeeCee Gold badge

    There is another possibility.

    Put aside for a moment the issue of whether burglars were or were not using Streetview to identify targets off their own bat.

    In the wake of a fuckton of press hype over how easy it would be for burglars to use Streetview to identify targets, I'd have thought that even the dumbest burglar is going to have a look to see if there's the possibility that it might actually make their life easier.

  23. lukewarmdog
    Badgers

    Goggle

    Did Google make any effort to investigate whether their actions WOULD increase crime? Did they produce a risk assessment? Or did they just come up with this idea to map the world at street level, buy some cars and head off into various sunsets?

    I don't use Street View and could care less about it, it might be awesome, it might be really irresponsible. Personally I'd like to see my house blurred out by a massive advert for AOL. Maybe one day it will be.

  24. Jonathan White

    Wow

    You've had your house stolen? That's really impressive.

  25. gimbal
    FAIL

    Riiiiiiigh

    Because it's not at all his responsibility for leaving his own blessed garage door open? Nope, not all his fault, the blame must be solely on the well-monied corporate enterprise. Suuuuuure - is that like his thinking, then?

    1. The BigYin
      FAIL

      Sorry, you fail

      If he didn't open the door, how would he get the car (or anything else) out?

      *LEAVING* the door open for extended periods without good cause is the issue.

  26. Jonathan Walsh
    Thumb Down

    Who would have thought?

    Valuable items such as bikes/lawnmowers/tools etc in a garage.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Its all the Ebul Goooogle

    I had my garage broken into a few months ago, fortunately I dont have anything of value in there and all that it meant was a replacement shutter door.

    Now even though my house isnt on Streetview, it must still be googles fault. Somehow.

    It is obviously impossible for criminals to break into a place and steal things unless Google Street View gives them every minute detail of the scene (as it was on X date, because as we well know, nothing changes).

    I detest almost everything about google. I am rabid about protecting our privacy from creeping surveillance state powers but this "blame streetview" mentality is just an epic fail.

  28. Kevin Johnston

    Re: New Business Opportunity

    Sadly you missed the boat here....follow this link and be amazed http://www.style-your-garage.com/eu/?id_lc=25

  29. N2 Silver badge

    And

    They get a free computer from Gordon Clown to browse for victims

  30. Craig 12
    WTF?

    Anti-proof

    If this burglary is proof of street view enabling criminals, I have the anti-proof.

    Just before Easter a colleague had two bikes worth £750 each nicked from a closed shed in his back garden. It is not visible on street view, and the bikes were worth more.

    p.s. most garages and sheds have personal property in them. Criminals steal personal property.

  31. Rainer
    Paris Hilton

    One point...

    herearound, when google updated its sat-images, one could suddenly see clearly which house had a pool in the garden (and how big it was).

    Before, everything was hidden behind hedges....

    I haven't heard of an increase in break-ins, though.

    (Paris, because she's been a victim of burglary, too)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    No increase in Crimerate in 20%

    Since they are making this statement, I demand that they publish, the findings from the surveys they made (or had done) in every town (since they state "Nowhere")

    If this can't be presented, I suggest, they withdraw their statement and pay compensation wherever there was a burglary and streetview was available.

    After all, it is reasonable to suspect, that they at least in part enabled the burglary.

    Any lawyers around that could give us some indication about the legalities of this?

  33. Daniel Owen
    Unhappy

    £350 bike!!!!

    Really, they saw that and thought lets steal that one? It's hardly an expensive bike in today's world.

    Maybe they saw him riding it and followed him home?

    If they did use streetview, how did they know it was still there? It's not a live view, the contents of the garage could have drastically changed since the photos were took.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Nerds

    1. You little innocents: burglars are not all opportunist 16 year olds. There are quite a few who do research: google, funeral notices (case in the last few days), personal sales ads., estate agents, even curtains/windows closed at unusual times or for longer than usual, absence of lights, noise, comings and goings. Google is a great way to assess access, what is over that tall hedge, peek at the vulnerable French windows not normally visible. it is almost a truism that if some of the more successful burglars (and other criminals) worked as hard and thoroughly in a legal job they could be very wealthy. Yes, I do know what I am talking about.

    2. Privacy is a personal right, outweighing your right to gawp on line. In countries that care more about their citizens rights than those of Google or network nerds, this has been recognised and Google held to account or even stopped. Heavens above, I read that in UK nowadays, a holiday snap of a public monument or a policeman (usually considere a public figure meant to be visible) can get the photographer into trouble. How come Google, taking far more personal photographs on a vast scale and distributing them rather more widely, is excused? Because it is an American company?

    3. Why should I have to keep closing every door and window every time I, furtively and rapidly, get something out of my house/garage/shed, go back for the next thing that was too much to carry in one go ..., just in case some nosey-parker photographer in a special car passes in order to publicise my property around the world? As for "blurring": if one can not recognise a person or object by more than just the face or an inadequately masked number plate, generally, you should see an optician or perhaps look at your surroundings more carefully.

    4. You must live in a very little world: there have been several, justified and demonstrated concerns about this sort of risk and the effects on other activities, such as house sales etc. (e.g. somebody interested in an area using Google and finding photos. taken on the one day something was going on portraying the area in a bad light).

    You may be a nerdy innocent viewing the world through a screen just to satisfy your curiosity. The real world is rather more interesting.

    And just what have you got against those of us who do not want to live our lives in the public gaze, just to satisfy your prurient interest? The modern state is removing our remaining rights to privacy at an astonishing rate without your help.

    1. Arclight

      So.....

      when you've finished stereotyping everyone who disagree's with you on this point, (unless nerds really is a name for a six foot carpenter perusing El Reg while sat having his dinner on a roof truss), can I ask you if you have ever taken a holiday photo? Did you ask permission of anyone in the background, or the owners of any property in the background, before showing the photo to friends, emailing it or uploading to flickr/photobucket?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        That is very different

        Your flickr/photobucket pictures are not being advertised and distributed as part of a worldwide service providing views of every street in every town that Google feels like driving a car around. Yes, a burglar could try and use flickr to research what to steal, but they have to identify where the photo was taken, and lots of other difficult issues. With streetview, they just use the service to walk along the streets that they normally steal from, and see if anything looks interesting. It is a hell of a lot easier than walking the street looking for vulnerabilities.

        If you had ever read any of the exposés by ex-crims who explain how to secure your house from burglary, you will discover that most crims spend a bit of time on research. Do you have an easy to break into door/window, preferably concealed in a dark back-garden so they can work in the quiet. Is there a second escape route from the house if they are caught in the act (big bushes outside the big front window can help to persuade a crim to go elsewhere). Is it a house with an expensive car outside, can you see a big wide-screen TV through the window, etc. etc.

        Google Streetview is a fantastic research tool for crims, as well as being useful for joe public. The only question is whether the use for one outweighs the risks of the other, and whether you rate privacy law higher than Google or not. For me, I think they should go a step further in protecting privacy. Given that they already pay people to drive cars along every street, they should at least pay a sweatshop to view pictures down each street (maybe even in realtime) for obvious privacy problems. It wouldn't cost much more, but would go against the Google ethos of automating everything - so it won't happen.

    2. nation of stupid

      Ho hum...

      In reply to 2:

      Privacy is a right, on private property. Only the most deluded in the world would expect privacy when the public are in a public place - such as the street outside your house. Unless you build an 8 foot wall around your property. Photographers in the UK have the right to take any photograph they want when in a public space - this includes taking photos of the contents of your garage if they are standing on the public street outside your house.

      In reply to 3:

      So you think you should have the right to not have a photo taken from the public highway outside your house, of the inside of your garage that isn't seen for at least six months before it goes online, with the option of having the picture removed for the paranoid.

      What do you do about protecting your privacy from any stranger walking past your house when your garage is open and seeing the contents at that exact time? Only allow them past wearing blindfolds?

    3. heyrick Silver badge

      The world won't pander to your fail

      In response to 1: I can certainly see streetview could be useful for planning exit routes if you want to knock over a bank or petrol station, but in the case of domestic property it is absolutely imperative to do a reccy for the age of streetview imagery could throw up some interesting traps. Don't think we're such innocents. Mafia, yakuza, east-end heavies, they're criminals but they aren't spotty 16 year olds. I cannot see street view being that MUCH of a tool, other than to give an overview of the location. Beyond that, you need to be there. To see the area, to see the patterns of how people come and go. To observe if the divorcee in number 24 has her beady eye on everything except bingo night on Wednesday. There are all sorts of covers you can take, from fake cable repair guy to popping door to door collecting for charity. It will give you a feel for the location and point out a great number of potential risks, none of which street view will do. Tech is cool, but basic "social engineering" can do so much more.

      In response to 2: You'll find privacy is a much looser concept than that. People can gawp at your house. I can turn up, set up a portable stool across the road, and aim binoculars at it and so long as there was a tree nearby, I'd just tell everybody I'm birdwatching. And you can do WHAT about it? For sure, I can understand why street view might freak some people out, but do you also refuse to use store points/loyalty cards and ALWAYS pay for purchases in cash? Because if you don't, you're leaving a pretty interesting paper trail. Our local supermarket sends out coupon booklets every few months. They've pretty much sussed me out, but I'm not that bothered, I'm a single guy who prefers microwave ready meals to taking obscene amounts of time to prepare a meal I'll eat in fifteen-odd minutes, I am also fond of specific types of food. Me and a million other statistics just like me.

      In response to 3: Why should you close your garage door? Perhaps because you might keep valuable stuff in there. It isn't about some camera car going by, it is about ANYBODY going by. Whether you leave your doors open and stuff exposed, or not, is your choice. But, then, some of us have log on passwords on our computers and some don't. It depends upon a delicate balance of how much you value your stuff versus how lazy you are.

      In response to 4: You're right. In a distant hazy future is us, moving house. I'm not sure where, so I've been using streetview to look at all sorts of medium-sized towns. Looking for graffiti, looking for major employers, looking for nuclear silos, waste treatment plants, burnt-out cars... It would cost an arm and a leg to visit half the country, so I use streetview to count or discount places. I've found some seriously cute towns.. Potential future home?

      Is this unfair to the place photographed? No, I don't think so. If something shameful is immortalised in street view, it is no different to me driving there and seeing the same thing. If it portrays the area in a bad light... well maybe sometimes this is justified? I've had a lifetime's worth of bollocks from estate agents trying to portray somewhere as absolute paradise. People lie a lot, especially when it is in their interests. Photographs lie less, especially when there is no specific agenda. Google doesn't seek out bad things to film, they just drive by taking pictures. If bad things are in those pictures, it isn't the fault of Google, those things were already going on...

      The real world is a LOT more interesting, indeed. Are you offering to buy me a return fare to Narita airport? No, well, I guess I'll just have to explore the madness that is Tokyo using street view. Unless I win the lottery, or some kind benevolent person takes pity on my inner geek, it is likely to be the closest I'll get. Street view can never ever replace reality, but, well, sometimes reality is far beyond the accepted realms of itself.

      Finally, get over yourself. You being on streetview isn't "living in the public gaze". It will be, for sure, if you bring attention to yourself in a way that gets you into the media (and then it is open season on your ass). Otherwise, you'll live in a house on a street in a town in a country... I don't know you, I don't know where you live, and you are posting as anon. This isn't living in the public gaze... unless you have delusions of being Lindsay Lohan, perhaps? Is my place on streetview? Perhaps. But if I don't point it out, it is a house on a road in a town in a country... get the point yet?

      PS: Don't forget to lock your garage door. Your house alarm is wired through to the garage as well, isn't it? Oh, and you might care to invest in a wheelbarrow. Throw an old duvet into it, you can then pile in so much more than you can carry. Do you think I unload the weekend shopping run bag by bag by bag? Hell no, I load it all into the wheelbarrow and trot the whole lot directly into the kitchen. Definite time saver, and saves lots of effort too.

  35. Eddie Edwards
    FAIL

    You can't "break in" to most garages

    The security of the lock on the average garage is weak - built on the assumption that the building is a *garage* and the *car* inside has its own locks. I can open my garage without a key so easily it hardly qualifies as "breaking in".

    If people want to store £1000s worth of stuff in there, they might want to consider spending £50 on a decent lock.

  36. deadmanjones

    wonder if his neighbour knows he parks in his driveway when he's out...

    If he feels like suing google, he may want to sue 192.com and every other directory service too, to ensure that no one can find his address as the only Gordon Rayner in Bradford.

    What an aladdins cave that is; a washing machine, a chest freezer and a green wheelie bin. Can't see enough of the bike to value it though, but I of course believe him when he says it's worth £350.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Milk Float

      It's been a long time since I saw a milkman, but do they deliver them from the roofs of Merc's these days?

      1. deadmanjones

        from the roof of mercs

        the milkmen just do the driving these days; the flying monkeys take off from the roof, which is why the milk is needed up there

  37. b166er

    Erm

    Some of you.....well, jake....think these bozo's had some kind of plan.

    Yeh! That's why they stole the bike the first night and then returned TWICE in the hope of taking more.

    Google spokesman "The imagery on Street View is no different to what anyone could readily capture or see by travelling down the street " OK, sure, but most people don't have photographic memories. It's also a lot less obvious casing establishments from your living room!

  38. Arclight

    Wow, who'd athunkit

    "burglars broke into the garage and made off with a £350 bicycle"

    TBH the last thing I'd expect to find in a garage is a bike. </sarcasm>

  39. The First Dave

    Angle

    The point is not really whether or not this guy is correct, it is what is Google thinking?

    Their argument is always that they are only showing things that are publically visible, yet they deliberately mount their camera about 9 feet up, which is rather taller than anyone I have ever met. This specifically defeats most peoples normal/reasonable attempts at privacy, ie 6 foot hedges/fences and allows the camera to see straight into peoples houses.

    In my opinion Google is providing a useful service, but is being reckless in the way that it is doing it, and needs to be told to change.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Height of camera

      I don't think Google were putting the camera up higher just to annoy people.

      A lot of the time they will be on a road with other cars and vans around. To make sure that most of the imagery didn't just contain passing vehicles they would have needed to raise the camera.

      Still a lot of buses would get the same view, even higher on a double decker and with many phones containing a camera capable of taking better pics than the google car, you need to think hard about anything you wish to keep private.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Google can kiss my fat white yorkshire arse...

    My elderly parents house was shown for all to see with:

    A: empty drive = no one home

    B: alarm box = something worth nicking

    C: disabled hand rail on the door -elderly/vunerable/etc etc.

    I had it removed from google soon as i saw it.

    Fuck google, fuck street view.

    1. Arclight

      Just a thought but.....

      has it also occoured that to our nefarious websurfers that

      D: a blanked out house on GE = something really worth checking out

    2. chr0m4t1c
      WTF?

      You appear to be lost

      A: empty drive = car not on drive when Google car drove past.

      Have you wandered in from somewhere less technical?

      Do you understand that streetview is *not* a live streaming service? That's why it looks like daylight even if you look in the middle of the night.

      I have a friend who is a member of the constabulary and has been for a number of years, he told me that the vast majority of burglaries are opportunist. Toe-rag tries a door or a window and it it opens he/she goes inside to see if there's something worth pinching.

      Most likely stuff to go is something that can be moved easily and is valuable (so has a good resale price to them). Bicycles are in that category.

      Yes, someone *might* use streetview to see if an area looks like a good one, but they're just as likely to just walk around.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Eh?

      A: empty drive = no one home

      Err you do know it's not real time don't you? You know, that if they go past right now, there may be a car onthe drive?

      B: alarm box = something worth nicking

      You mean one they can see from the front of the house? And also a DETERENT i.e ooh maybe they have a fucking alarm!

      C: is that those bloody great handles usually on the front of the house, often found right next to the front door, you know by the definition of Front, they are often on the front of the house i.e. in full view.

      Sir (child more like, when are the Easter hols ending again?), you are an arse.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Troll

        Eh? If i'd wanted to listen to an arsehole, i'd fart!

        Of course i know its not real time. You might **think** i dont know that, but i do.

        Alarm box, yeah, for the insurance. Oh and cos we do have something worth nicking.

        Yeah, i know where the handle is, cos my folks use that door, yeah, the front one.

        And an arse i might be, but I'm a smarter arse than you.

        Now, fuck off back from the rock you came. Im sorry if that fact that i do actually care about my privacy and parents upset you.

    4. Andrew_F

      Re: A and B

      Empty drive suggests nobody was home at the moment the Streetview car drove past. It doesn't mean much when the photos are viewed days, weeks or months later.

      Alarm boxes are visible outside as a deliberate deterrent. They show that the house may be more inconvenient to burgle than other houses. Your argument would only work if the only people with alarms were those with excessive wealth.

    5. Grubby
      Coat

      lol

      A: You can see there's no-one in from a picture, that's a greenhouse...

      B: Analysis shows an alarm does the exact opposite

      C: You'll also have to stop people walking down your street, or at least blind fold them.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And...

    thanks to google urth I now know houses have TV's and dvd players in the living room. Din't no that befor.

    Fanks I.R Buglar

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Pigs

    Has anyone stolen the pigs on the roundabout outside his house yet?

  43. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Pint

    How about...

    ...Google front the money to for some PIs ( like Magnum or Angela Lansbury ), they get the perps and beat a confession out of them to find out if they really did use Google SV or not?!

    Shut your whining and stop blaming everyone else!

    If your liberty was so bloody precious to you, you saw the Google-mobile go past and you didn't bother to check to see what they captured on their "spy-cams" later in the month?!?! No. You got clobbered by some scumbags and this seemed a convenient excuse!

    So this guy is bleating about a £350 bike being nicked? My car, a 3 year old Honda CRV, has been broken into twice in a CCTV car park in broad daylight, in an average UK town! £1250 quid so far in broken glass. I never leave things on the seat but the scum still targetted me twice and the police basically never gave a toss and simply told me to claim on the insurance. Yeah thanks, now my premiums go up through no fault of my own!

    ( Thinking about it, there's been no murders in very posh apartments, so Angela wouldn't be much use! Maybe Columbo or Jim Rockford? )

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Joke

      Oh now, come now!

      Dear Sir,

      I cannot possibly let your slur on two find detectives pass without comment.

      Jim Rockford investigated a fair number of murders (and nearly got killed in the process).

      Columbo was a homicide detective and only investigated murders (he never got shot at but he did get pistol whipped and sworn at by a traffic warden in one episode.

      Both of these detectives have suffered in the pursuit of their art (I feel that Columbo deserves particular praise for his handling of a recalcitrant traffic warden). Your accusation that they would therefore be well suited to investigate an apartment that is devoid of murder victims is unwarranted.

      Yours,

      Mr. P. E. Dantic.

  44. andy gibson

    It would be funny

    If the local council slapped him with some sort of fine for pressure washing all the muck off his drive onto the street and into the drains. I'm sure the Daily Mail know of some loony law that he's breaking.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    sue the council

    for making roads that people can drive along and see in your open garage.

  46. nzbMoon
    Happy

    Google StreetCam

    I hope the next big google social project is a collection of Live Street Webcams, would be great if that tied up with Street View too.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What mountain bike?

    Despite the link above It took a while to find his garage

    -1.74399920796138, 53.843406

    But as for his mountain bike, was it already nicked when google came past?

    “We’ve now launched Street View in around 20 countries and nowhere has there been any increase in crime as a result.”

    I can absolutely, positively and beyond any doubt assure google this is not the case. I have a bag full of swag to prove it :)

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