Villagers Block Google Street View Car

Google’s Street View feature hasn’t always received the most positive reception. For instance, we’ve heard plenty of stories of people asking Google to remove images of their homes from the feature because of privacy concerns. This is a new one, however: Angry residents in Buckinghamshire village have chased a Google Street View car out of the area.

The car was taking photos of Broughton in Buckinghamshire for the Street View service when Paul Jacobs, a local resident, spotted it. He asked the car not to enter the village. Apparently, the driver of the car wasn’t deterred, because Jacobs later felt the need to rouse his neighbors. Together, the group surrounded the vehicle until the driver performed a U-turn and left the area.

Jacobs and the residents of the affluent neighborhood felt the photographs were an invasion of their privacy. In addition, the residents were worried the photographs might attract burglars. In an interview later, Jacobs said he was angry; “How dare anyone take a photograph of my home without my consent?" he said. Jacobs went on to explain how the area has had three burglaries in the past six weeks.

The Google Street View service launched last month in the UK. Jacobs and his neighbors’ aren’t alone in their concerns. Privacy International has written to the Information Commissioner’s Office to request the service be shut down after dozens of images have been pulled due to complaints.

Google issued a statement saying it was aware of the incident and believes the company’s existing privacy controls are suitable. Google also acknowledged that some people are not comfortable with images of their houses or cars being included in the Street View service. The company offers a way to request removal of the imagery and claims most image requests are processed within hours.