Police Credit Google Street View For Helping Catch Drug Ring

from the you're-on-google-camera dept

Following on our recent story of police using Google Street View to give them a lead in a stolen car incident, comes another report, sent in by Joshy, of a heroin dealing ring in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who was dealing on the streets out in the open -- and also were caught on Google Street View images:
It's a little unclear from the article just how useful the Google Street View image was to the case, but it certainly seems like it could be useful as corroborating evidence...
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Filed Under: drug ring, street view
Companies: google

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  1. icon
    MG (profile), 18 Nov 2010 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Google violated rights?

    Just like snopes.com attempts to reduce the amount of sensationalized reactionary email responses to a made up issue, we need a site that attempts to do the same for reactionary comments with made up issues.

    First, I don't blame you for thinking this is a violation of "rights" as I likely would have thought the same thing before I became a police officer over a decade ago. But I do get this complaint often from fellow citizens who do not realize that in a public place, the supreme court has ruled that one's expectation of privacy is very limited. I don't necessarily whole sale agree with this, but it is what it is.

    Therefore, when in a public place, the default is that you should be aware you can be photographed. Exceptions would be the act of photographing someone during the course of harassment, which would require a pattern of behavior toward an individual by another individual/entity, in in which case would be a CIVIL issue, not a constitutional rights issue. Furthermore, if the pattern of photographing someone is being carried out to catch criminal behavior, the situation reverses again back to the right of the photographer to photograph someone in a public place over a series of incidents.

    In short, Google isn't violating anyone's rights to photograph people on the street, and have taken efforts VOLUNTARILY to obscure faces and license plate numbers from their images. This was not a legal requirement, it was there own policy arguably "just to be kind" but certainly to avoid any civil lawsuits, frivolous or otherwise. This of course does not include the pictures that captured the goings-on INSIDE of some home where the curtains/blinds were pulled back. While that was still ostensibly not a legal issue, it could very easily be made into a strong civil case as rather than being an inadvertent pic you or I might capture when taking a picture of the front of a house, Google's planned practice of taking a picture of the front of just about every house could make them a lot more liable, again CIVILLY, by nor taking measures to obscure what they capture INSIDE houses.

    Again, if anyone thinks Google 'worked with the police' on this clearly does not understand how minuscule the contribution, if any contribution at all, this photograph would have for the case in relation to the plethora of other evidence.

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