Street View and burglars

Now some news stories can get me mildly annoyed. In the end, though, I shake my head and move on. But every-so-often something comes along where the general public are so ridiculously stupid that it really, really winds me up – people who buy houses next to airports and then complain about the noise, that kind of thing/

Here’s one today

Angry residents of a Buckinghamshire village blocked the driver of a Google Street View car when he started taking photographs of their homes.

Police were called to Broughton, near Milton Keynes, after residents staged the protest accusing Google of invading their privacy and “facilitating crime”.

I heard a little more about this on the news this morning. By “facilitating crime” they mean that they believe burglars are using Street View to plan their next target. Now, I’m no burglary expert but I would suggest 3 things…

  1. Back gardens and alleyways are the best routes in and out. Street View only shows views from the road.
  2. A burglar could get a much better view by simply driving up the road.
  3. Why couldn’t a burglar use the overhead Google Maps service, which isn’t being criticised? That shows views all around a property.

Therefore I would conclude that only a really stupid burglar would use Street View for planning purposes.

So, why has Google caved in? Why, when the Police were called by the villagers did they not get into trouble for wasting Police time? By law, Google are doing nothing unlawful. Yet, by standing in the road blocking the car I would suggest the villagers in question probably are breaking at least one law.

I suspect they’ve been reading too much Daily Mail who refer to it as a ‘burglar’s charter’ and ‘Google spy cameras’.

It’s all a load of over-reaction by a bunch of NIMBYs with nothing better to do. Shameful.


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