Is Google Street View Assisting Criminals?

A UK man has accused Google Street View of playing a part in the burglary on his home, as the website had featured an image of his garage door wide open.

Gordon Raynar, 54 said that the burglars may have used the site to target the contents of his garage, which are clearly visable in the online image. "People need to be aware of this: it's a serious invasion of privacy," Rayner says,"It's basically shopping online for these crooks."

During the break in which occurred on Friday 12 March, the criminals stole a £350 bike and then made two further break in attempts on the following two days.

The Yorkshire police have said that they are currently investigating the case, however Mr Rayner is considering independent action against the internet giant Google.

Rayner himself is also visable in the image as he was washing his car as the Google van drove past to capture images of the Bradford area. Although Google have blurred out Rayner's face and car registration plate, the contents of the garage are clearly visable.

Google do proactively blur faces and registration plates but they have said that they will also happily remove any image which is deemed unsuitable for personal privacy reasons. "We do remove homes when requested, and always have." Each Street View picture includes a "report a problem" link for requesting removals.

Google have also pointed out that Rayner was unaware that his home was even featured on the site until someone pointed this out to him. They also maintain that their service does not provide any information people could not get by walking down that road themselves.

Google stated, "We've now launched Street View in around 20 countries and nowhere has there been any increase in crime as a result."

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