Google trikes blamed for invasion of privacy in UK

June 14th, 2009 - 5:21 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 14 (ANI): Google’s new plan to photograph every roadside in Britain for its Street View service has drawn flak from the public, which claims that it is an invasion of privacy.

Now, the Internet search engine’s camera cars are being banned from entering private roads and prevented from filming in some villages by human barricades, the Times Online reports.

To deal with it, Google is launching a new device this summer: a rickshaw-style camera cart or ‘tricycle man’ that can be pedalled up country lanes and bridleways and alongside hedgerows to capture families at work and play in their gardens.

The trike, as it is called, carries the same camera equipment that is usually found in Google’s fleet of Vauxhall Astra cars, which, with their darkened windows, have been touring Britain taking shots for 360-degree views of streets to be displayed on the Internet.

Trikes have already been used in Rome to take pictures of the Trevi Fountain and other landmarks that cannot normally be reached by car.

Greece has banned Google until it provides more privacy safeguards, while Japan has asked it to reshoot using less intrusive camera angles.

Britain, however, has embraced the service. Google has struck a deal with VisitBritain, the tourist information service, to use trikes to photograph historic buildings, coastal paths and natural wonders.

The trikes will also take pictures inside football stadiums so visitors can find their seats before they arrive.

Google’s increasing intrusion into British society has caused concern that it is providing criminals with a close-up view of people’s homes and security measures.

Google, however, says that people can have their houses removed from its website by “simply clicking on a button”.

In a post on a company policy blog, Gavin McGinty, Google’s product lawyer, said: “Saying that Street View is enabling crime is like blaming the motor industry for crime because criminals also use getaway cars.” (ANI)

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