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?