A few weeks ago, Cate Sevilla asked when it was going to be London’s turn to get the ultimate big brother treatment with Google Street View. Well, on the stroll back to my house last Friday, I spotted a Google Street View car parked opposite my road of residence. I wasn’t seeing through beer goggles or anything, this really was the controversial car, parked near my house. It wasn’t hard to miss, with the Google logo slap-bang on the side and the oh-so-conspicuous Street View camera sitting on its roof – it would appear our time to be street viewed has come.
I wonder if it’s going to cause as much trouble as it has in the US. One woman flashed her knickers getting into her car just as the Google car went past, and is now suing their asses. Another unsuspecting victim is also suing because he was snapped leaving a sex shop – because that’s a great way to keep anyone from finding out you’re a bit of a perv who likes to visit sex shops!
Privacy activists have been all over Google like a bad rash, claiming it often shows people in their houses and is a huge invasion of privacy. I agree. Google has promised they will be blanking out people’s faces and blurring number plates though. But they’re not going to be blurring people’s houses are they? Which means Street View will be like some sort of burglar’s paradise, allowing them to pick and choose which houses look the least secure. Google is refusing to confirm the existence of any cars in London and wouldn’t comment on the product’s impending launch, but I can confirm Google Street View London is underway.
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By Lucy Hedges | July 21st, 2008