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. icon
    Mike P (profile), 19 Jun 2009 @ 9:12pm

    Google, Crime Solvers

    While I absolutely agree with you, Mike, on your stance concerning Google Street View and that it can be quite useful for certain things, catching criminals in action probably isn't one of those things. That's a once in a decade happenstance and thus wouldn't be fair to be used as an argument for being pro Street View. Other than the fact it shows that sometimes image records come in handy as a historical reference, there's really nothing more than an eye-catching coincidence here.

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