Google's Street View Used To Catch Illegal Tree Choppers?

from the watch-who's-driving-by dept

There's been lots of talk about whether or not Google's Street View effort violates anyone's privacy -- and also whether or not it's proper for police to use photos that were uploaded online in charging people with crimes. How about a combination of the two? A property owner in Canada was caught illegally chopping down some trees on a lot, and Google's Street View images appear to catch the tree choppers red handed. It's not yet clear if the Street View images will be used in the prosecution, but it does seem like valid evidence, though again it will raise privacy questions. However, I'm not sure what the argument really would be there, since it would really be no different than a neighbor taking a photograph (it was the neighbors who complained about the tree chopping in the first place).


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  1.  
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    Betty Chambers, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 6:14am

    Privacy is illusory

    I don't know the laws regarding privacy, but my perspective is that if you are in a public place, privacy doesn't exist. I suppose the limit is what is getting exposed in the photos. People who put their garbage out on the street - it is accessible by the police in their search for evidence. Google isn't law enforcement, but I guess it could apply.

    Although it's illegal to record conversations, it is odd that it is okay to record people doing things. I find that twist rather odd.

    But what do I know?

     

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  2.  
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    Comboman (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 6:23am

    DRM for real estate?

    The guy is charged with cutting down trees in his own yard (without getting a "tree cutting permit" from the city). Privacy issues aside, why should the city be allowed to dictate what a property owner can do with their own property (reminds me of DRM)?

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 6:46am

    Re: DRM for real estate?

    Ever heard of zoning laws?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 7:00am

    Re: DRM for real estate?

    In my Homeowners Association, cutting down trees without permission constitutes a capital offense.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 7:11am

    Re: Privacy is illusory

    It isnt totally illegal to record conversations. Most states have a statute that at least one of the party's involved have to know that recording is taking place, and there isn't a perceived notion that it is a confidential conversation.

     

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  6.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: DRM for real estate?

    > In my Homeowners Association, cutting down trees
    > without permission constitutes a capital offense.

    So you slowly poison them and it looks like they just died of natural causes. Once the leaves turn brown and the tree starts looking ugly, you won't need to get their permission-- they'll be coming to you demanding that you get rid of it.

     

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  7.  
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    HymieS (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 7:52am

    Make up your mind?

    The county and state I live in says i can trim a tree around, but I can not take any Height off. My homeowners association says no tree is allowed to be higher than the town homes themselves.
    As for the legality,,, it's no different than the cameras that catch you going through a red light.
    My favorite question is whether a person has the right to NOT be photographed without permission? I consider my countenance to be private and viewable by EYES only. Yet it seems that the government, Banking and even the local businesses feel they have the right to take my picture or video me in public places.

     

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  8.  
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    HymieS (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Re: DRM for real estate?

    No need for poison. Just take a 2 to 3 inch wide strip of bark off from all around the tree.
    Funny that it's illegal to cut down a tree, but not to kill it.

     

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  9.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:44am

    Isn't it pretty standard practice when investigating a crime to look for any video footage or photography that might contain evidence? Lets say this happened in an urban environment, and the tree-chopping was captured by a nearby security camera in a parking lot or something - I'm pretty sure that's a common way of catching people who break the law (though not usually for cutting down trees)

     

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  10.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM for real estate?

    Funny you should say that, but it is in Vancouver.
    A few years back some trees in a park started to wither and die for no apparent reason and the Parks Board aborists discovered they had been poisoned.
    A while later it was discovered that a woman had been poisoning the trees across the street from her condo so she could get a better view of English Bay.
    Charged and convicted. She replaced them, incidentally, after she was charged.

     

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  11.  
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    marqthompson (profile), Feb 16th, 2010 @ 2:29am

    This is a wonderful article. The things given are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone. -------------- marqthompson mls listings

     

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