Sorry Graham but...
...James is a bit confused about his country and lots of other things. It's election season here, a time when liberals come out of the woodwork and say the darndest things.
The law in the US is pretty much as you describe for the UK. It is not illegal in the US to own and operate a camera. It is not illegal to be in business and you can choose a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a (gasp!) corporation. If you choose to form a corporation, you can even operate inside and outside the US, making you a (gasp!gasp!) multinational corporation. All those businesses are free to make money -- as much money as they want.
We can see our credit records too -- once a year for no charge, by law.
James is correct that surface rights are treated separately from mineral rights (and in some states, water rights) but the government doesn't take those rights to itself. This way, a property owner can grant others the right to develop minerals on his property without selling his property. In the US, Google cannot enter your home or even stand on your lawn and start taking pictures.
Just thought someone should remove any misconceptions. Don't be too hard on James -- our public education system is in a heck of a mess. But we rock at Call of Duty.
Oh, and I hate Google too though.