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Angry villagers run Google Street View out of town

By Stuart Turton

Posted on 2 Apr 2009 at 17:36

A Google Street View car has been chased out of a Buckinghamshire village by angry residents.

The car was taking photographs of Broughton in Buckinghamshire for Google's Street View service when it was spotted by Paul Jacobs - a local resident.

He warned the car not to enter the village then roused his neighbours, who surrounded the vehicle until the driver performed a U-turn and left.

Jacobs claims residents were worried that the photographs were an invasion of their privacy and would attract burglars.

"My immediate reaction was anger; how dare anyone take a photograph of my home without my consent?" He tells The Times. "This is an affluent area. 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. I was determined to make a stand, so I called the police."

The Street View service provides street-level photography of major cities, allowing you to take virtual tours around towns.

It was only launched in the UK last month, but has already met with controversy. Privacy International has written to the Information Commissioner's Office requesting the service be shut down after dozens of images were pulled following complaints.

In a statement Google says it is aware of the incident, but believes its existing privacy controls are suitable. "We know that some people are uncomfortable with images of their houses or cars being included in the product, which is why we provide an easy way to request removal of imagery. Most imagery requests are processed within hours."

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