Did Google Street View Catch A Car Thief In The Act?

from the to-catch-a-thief dept

I’ll be the first to admit that I think many of the privacy concerns over Google’s Street View are totally overblown, and the calls for things like blurring houses are silly and misguided. However, I was initially quite skeptical of this story, sent in by Richard, suggesting that Google Street View was useful in spotting a car thief.

The guy had a caravan that was stolen, and a year or so later, his son was looking at Google Street View, and noticed that the image of their house showed a strange man with an unrecognized SUV in the driveway. They began to suspect that this was the thief. The police were contacted, and they’ve now started to pass around the Street View images, asking for information on the man.

So, perhaps Street View isn’t all evil?

Of course, due to the standard privacy concerns, Google blurs the license plates of vehicles, so the license plate on the SUV is blurred out. You can see it below:

It’s not clear why they can’t just ask Google for an unblurred picture — though, perhaps law enforcement has forced Google to destroy the original images? Good thing the family didn’t ask for their entire house to be blurred, huh?

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Did Google Street View Catch A Car Thief In The Act?”

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14 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Yeah, tough call: Billions spied on, versus one possible thief...

According to dictionary.com, I know it’s not that great, his use of spy is fairly accurate:

to be on the lookout; keep watch.

to search for or examine something closely or carefully.

to catch sight of suddenly

to discover or find out by observation or scrutiny

to inspect or examine or to search or look for closely or carefully

Besides, in the UK we can just hire google to spy on the populace for a nominal fee and get rid of all the costly CCTV – awesome!

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Yeah, tough call: Billions spied on, versus one possible thief...

I suppose all the private security guys that “keep watch” at the doors of stores and jewellery shops should stop “spying” on us?

I received a letter from my aunt, but I lost it. I searched for it, then I examined it closely and carefully while I read it. I suppose that means I’m spying on my aunt…

I just discovered by observation or scrutiny that my coffee is cold. Oh no, another case of spying (on coffee).

darryl says:

Did Google catch a car theif ?? no..

well was anyone conviced, chared, or even questioned ?

and even if they do find out who that man is, that does not mean he stole the van.

And there is no proof in that photo, that he was stealing that van..

You never know he might of been there to sleep with the wife ?? or the husband !!!..

So they find this guy, take him to court, and he says he did not steal the van.. when then ??

Where is the proof, evidence or anything that shows he was not there for some other purpose.

If you think this is a good thing for google, that we want them spying on us, taking pics without our permission, and taking care of our security for us..

You are badly mistaken, people dont want google doing that, most countries dont want it… And this kind of thing will only reinforce that belief…

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