British villagers block Google’s Street View

A group of British village dwellers have forced a Google camera-car to abandon attempts to photograph their homes for the site’s Street View feature. But if locals wanted to keep their area quiet, they may have blundered spectacularly.

Street View, which provides the type of images you could see by standing in a location, is already in 25 British cities, prompting disputes over the legality of photographing individuals for a commercial purpose. Google is now extending its coverage to less populated areas and on Wednesday attempting to shoot pictures in Broughton, a village in Buckinghamshire.

Unfortunately for the firm, its vehicle was spotted by local man Paul Jacobs. He quickly gathered locals who surrounded the car and ‘persuaded’ it to leave without acquiring the images.

Locals say the usually sleepy village, populated by a few thousand relatively affluent people, has suffered three burglaries in the past few weeks. They fear appearing on Google Street View could make that worse because crooks could research potential targets and plan an escape route in advance.

The problem now is that Broughton residents now have considerably less privacy than if they had let the car do its work. The village has been featured in national and international newspapers and TV camera trucks have been a regular sight for the past couple of days. And now burglars across the country know the homes are worth targeting.

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