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
    Alex, 21 Jun 2009 @ 11:26am

    I know it's not entirely related, but many people have mentioned it in relation to this post on privacy, so I have to ask. If someone posts to a forum anonymously and a group (e.g. a government) tries to get their information from the site, why store that information in the first place? If you really wanted to protect your user's privacy surely you would just not store ANY identifying information such as IP address or name if given? Then you can't be accused of not complying with requests as you don't have the information to provide in the first place.

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