VILLAGERS in sleepy Buckinghamshire woke up to a Google Street View van filming their houses on Wednesday and ran the critter out of town.
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“I flagged the car down and told the driver he was not only invading our privacy but also facilitating crime,” said Paul Jacobs, 43, a resident of Broughton, an affluent village about 50 miles north of London.
“We’ve already had three burglaries locally in the past six weeks. If our houses are plastered all over Google it’s an invitation for more criminals to strike.”
When he saw the offending Google van, Jacobs rounded up a possee of neighbours and the resulting crowd blocked the famous 360 degree camera from doing its stuff.
As an example of sticking it to The Man, or mob rule, the villagers proved more successful than the anarchists in London this week and Broughton remains unavailable on Street View, though it can still be seen in bird’s eye view format on Google Earth.
“When police arrived at the scene, the car had moved on,” said a spokesperson for Thames Valley Police.
Google say that filming from a public space is legal and that if someone doesn’t want their house to feature on Street View, all they have to do is ask for it to be removed.
But the masters of the web universe have run into a more general debate about privacy, with government and corporate surveillance coming under increasing fire.