Google Street View in the UK is nothing if not controversial: while most see it as a wonderful harmless novelty that allows them to have a better idea of where they are going on trips others see it as an infringement of their privacy (despite the fact that faces and number plates are blurred) and feel that it encourages crime.
But a village called Broughton in Cambridgeshire have decided to take it into their own hands, literally. Evidently agreeing with the second of the two main views they decided to make a human blockade around the Google Street View car when it was spotted cruising around meaning that it could not drive in and take photos of Broughton forcing it to drive away.
But good as this idea was they have invoked the wrath of the internet community — and more specifically the fans of Google Street View UK who have encouraged each other to do what a car cannot, actually walk in and take photos themselves before posting them online, and who have managed to mobilise themselves very rapidly through the use of Twitter amongst other social networking sites.
Some have even taken it one step further by also indicating (in a tongue-in-cheek way) on the photos where would be good places to ‘burglars to strike’ making a mockery of the main problem that the locals had: that it would be a ‘burglars dream’. Obviously this attention is the exact opposite of what the villages wanted, and you can’t help but thinking that they are pretty annoyed.
Whilst this may seem like an amusing story (and over-reaction) it does re-raise some serious points on how much of an intrusion Google Street View is, and whether or not it should be allowed. I think I am with the majority of the UK when I say that I don’t see too much of a problem with it — but do people have the right to stop Google taking the photos?
After all it is completely legal, and isn’t something that a single person (with too much spare time) couldn’t do… but evidently some people disagree. This comes at a time that the first wave of Google Street View related court cases are coming through — both those related to people suing Google themselves, and the host of divorce cases that have been filed against husbands found at strip clubs, sex shops and female friends houses; is ignorance not bliss?
Tell us what you think! I know I can’t wait until they do my area (that’s Leicestershire in case anyone from Google is reading this) and I imagine many of you feel the same. So do you think it’s an infringement of or privacy? Do people have the right to stop cars in the street? Or really is this a massive overreaction?
But despite all of this the villagers themselves have achieved nothing apart from highlighting themselves and setting their Village up as a target for criminals and internet bloggers alike.