As Google Agrees To Delete Unblurred Street View Images In Germany, One Is Used To Solve A Crime

from the well-how-about-that dept

Earlier this week, Google agreed to delete unblurred images in its Street View database. If you don't know, Google Street View involves cars driving around photographing everything, so they can be placed on Google Maps. It's quite useful. However, some folks (and politicians) have been up in arms about the supposed privacy violation of photographing people walking in public (no, I don't get it, either). To deal with this, Google has been blurring faces of people. However, it usually keeps the unblurred versions in a database for future use (and for better training of its blurring mechanism).

However, just as the company agreed to delete the unblurred photos in its German database, over in the UK, such photos may be useful in helping to solve a mugging. The victim of the mugging (amazingly) noticed that one of the Street View photos was taken right before the mugging happened. It involved two guys who stole his bike, and the photo shows the two guys walking right behind the kid. He alerted the police, who got the unblurred image from Google and were able to track down the accused muggers. Of course, it's not clear if they'll actually be convicted or if there's really enough evidence. In the meantime, though, if you're thinking of mugging someone, maybe take a look around to see if there's a Google car driving along side you first.

Filed Under: crime, germany, google maps, mugging, street view, uk
Companies: google


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  1. identicon
    Mike's Email Responder 2000, 19 Jun 2009 @ 8:14pm

    Re:

    No, they are not "both sides of the same coin", and they are not "both public".

    Google street view takes photos from public property which is entirely legal, as any citizen can walk or drive around, take pictures, and post them on the internet.

    The fishing expedition to get information about the people who posted comments on a public forum involves trying to forcibly use the government's power to obtain information that the commenter never made or had any intention of making public, nor would it be possible for the public to discover for themselves.

    So no, Mike is not changing his position. He is simply stating that what is shown publicly (people on the streets) can be legally show publicly anywhere else, and what is made private (the commenter's personal info), should remain private until there is a legal warrant to obtain the information.

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