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Google Caught On Private Property 668

Posted by timothy
from the dude-that-is-so-not-cool dept.
nathan halverson writes "Google recently launched Street View coverage in Sonoma and Mendocino counties — big pot growing counties. And while they hardly covered the area's biggest city, Santa Rosa, they canvassed many of the rural areas known for growing pot. I found at least one instance where they drove well onto private property, past a gate and no trespassing sign, and took photographs. I didn't spend a whole lot of time looking, but someone is likely to find some pot plants captured on Street View. That could cause big problems for residents. Because while growing a substantial amount of pot is legal in Mendocino and Sonoma County under state law, it's highly illegal under federal law and would be grounds for a federal raid."
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Google Caught On Private Property

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  • by brxndxn (461473) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:40PM (#24350817)

    Don't snitch.. online.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      He didn't "snitch", he insinuated.

      But he did it so subtly and well most people think he found, or at least that there really is, footage of marijuana on StreetView. Actually he's provided no evidence at all.

    • Re:Don't snitch.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:07PM (#24351113)

      Don't even joke about "no snitching". It's a serious problem because people do not come forward to report crimes or give information. People are constantly exposed to this message through clothes (many varieties of 'no snitchin' shirts, hats) and primarily through rap.

      It may seem funny but people really live in environments where the fear of retaliation for speaking with the police is so strong that they say nothing. The whole "no snitchin'" thing bolsters that message.

      There is nothing funny about unsolved crime and criminals who go free because people are intimidated into not talking.

      • Snitch! (Score:2, Insightful)

        Well, besides the fact that anyone who's got no job, an internet connection and a hankerin' for some weed can just go google-maps-weed-hunting... I think "snitching" is the best form of neighborhood control.

        If someone is doing something that isn't right, and you don't stop them, you're basically helping them do their incorrect business.

        Not that pot is 'evil', but ... all it takes for evil to win, is that good men do nothing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kdemetter (965669)

          If someone is doing something that isn't right, and you don't stop them, you're basically helping them do their incorrect business.

          Not that pot is 'evil', but ... all it takes for evil to win, is that good men do nothing.

          That would depend on the interpretation of good and bad.

          If people want to take drugs, and ruin their lives,it's their choice , not mine.

          People should take responsibility for their own actions , and not expect society to always clean it up for them.

          I'm not saying there's no problem , but making everyone feel guilty for nothing won't help either.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Nursie (632944)

            Ah yes, that lovely old fallacy, everyone that smokes pot ruins their life in doing so.

            Just like everyone that ever had a beer is a hopeless drunk and lives in a gutter.

            • Re:Snitch! (Score:4, Interesting)

              by rohan972 (880586) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:24PM (#24353497)
              Well, I'm not the poster you are replying to, but: The argument in favor of drug bans is that drugs are harmful. There are two main arguments against drug bans (1) drugs are not harmful (either a particular drug or usage pattern) or no more harmful than legal drugs like alcohol. (2) people have the right to make decisions, even bad decisions. Regardless of the harmfulness of drugs we should not prevent people from doing something to themselves.

              Argument (1) is an evidence based approach (2) is a philosophy based approach. So in making a point, I might use the worst case scenario: they will ruin their lives/die. It doesn't make any difference to argument (2) which seems to me, then, to be a stronger point for a free society. When you have the leaders of your country, presidents and legislators, who have taken drugs and still reached (depending on your POV) the top of society it is also time to acknowledge point (1).

              "Don't take that stuff son, it'll ruin your life. Why, I know a guy who started smoking that, and he became president of the US! Just say no."
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Nursie (632944)

                Oh I agree, I just didn't like the guy's blanket "Drugs will automatically ruin your life" thing.

                I also don't like the term "drugs" because it covers an enormous range of effects, harms, dependencies and substances legal and illegal.

                Point 2 is a stronger point, but point 1 is pretty strong too, especially when (as you say) so many politicians have admitted to use of pot, or stronger substances.

                These admissions are usually followed by "in my youth, it was a mistake, no we're not going to legalise it", which

              • Re:Snitch! (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2008 @11:52PM (#24354553)

                How about the other argument against drug bans: that banning the drug creates more harm than it removes. A major harm caused by banning drugs is that producing those drugs becomes a criminal activity, and so naturally criminals take over that activity. Another problem is that banning drugs causes the price of the drugs to go up dramatically. This makes drug users spend more of their money on drugs. The money goes to the criminals producing, importing, and selling the drugs. These criminals don't pay tax on their income, and use their money to protect their business, by corrupting law makers and law enforcers.

                This is a major harm to society caused by banning drugs. Criminals can now get lots of money without much effort, or much risk. If the drugs were legal, the price would be much lower, and the money would go to legitimate businesses. Think about that, by banning drugs, we make criminals rich and powerful.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ibbie (647332)

            If people want to take drugs, and ruin their lives,it's their choice , not mine.

            That is an extremely puritan, and (far worse) uneducated opinion that you're voicing there. I mean, what's next? People who enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, oh noes, they're evil! And, *gasp* they might even have sex later that night!

            I know McGruff has done serious damage to the mindsets of the younger generations, but crap, something's got to give.

            I'm not defending heroin, cocaine, or crack; but if you look at the effects of marijuana versus alcohol, they pretty much even out. And plenty of people manage

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by CAIMLAS (41445)

          Pot is only evil by association, given that dirty hippies grow it, and dirty hippies are evil.

      • Re:Don't snitch.. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Logic and Reason (952833) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:14PM (#24351183) Homepage

        There is nothing funny about unsolved crime and criminals who go free because people are intimidated into not talking.

        There is when the "crime" in question is essentially gardening.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 4D6963 (933028)

        That "No Snitchin" movement is particularly stupid, because it's led by rappers and such who have no idea why one shouldn't snitch. Obviously it started as a way to "protect" local organised crime you're involved with and to rely on "street justice" rather than the traditional justice system, yet this silly movement made it into a golden rule that applies to absolutely everything without wondering why.

        Because of such a silly rule, in cases when the witnesses have nothing to fear and that "street justice" w

      • Re:Don't snitch.. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by penguinbrat (711309) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:10PM (#24352841)

        It may seem funny but people really live in environments where the fear of retaliation for speaking with the police is so strong that they say nothing.

        Let me tell you a story about "snitching", why I will never do it again and why it has zero to do with who I'm snitching on. It's the damn cops themselves! I had a friend of mine who I thought was going to be raped, I called it in, the cop showed up to take my report. I knew where they were going, or had only one idea where they would go but didn't have any address or street names - only how to get there. I was on my bike, so I joined him in his cruiser and proceeded to guide him to where I thought it was. Once we got there, it was in the back woods, I was very surprised to see three other cruisers already there, cops out, lights twirling and weapons drawn - someone else had apparently called something in obviously. In the end nothing happened, he took me back to my bike - but before letting me go, ran me through the system looking for warrants or anything to nail me on! I didn't have anything at the time, and wouldn't be that stupid to try and run from the radio - regardless, I will never, ever "snitch" again.

        If you want people to feel safe about snitching, then the cops have to go back to the "protect and serve" not "arrest anyone they can, and LOOK for shit". You don't give an 83 year old lady a speeding ticket for going 2 miles an hour over the speed limit, caught in a speed trap. You don't be a hard ass and intimidate people your supposedly "serving".

        If you want people to "snitch" then win the damn trust back! The cops are worse in my book than any thug, the thug will kick your ass, threaten you and move on - the cops will "find something", throw your ass in jail where you will kindly get raped for the rest of your term, or in the very least you'll be fighting for your life a hell of a lot more than you would in the real world.

        And for the record, I'm your average blond haired, blue eyed, caucasian dip shit that lives in the nicer areas, or tries to at least - I'm far from any gangbanger and don't dress like it. Although I'm quickly catching on to why minorities complain about this crap.

  • URL? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:40PM (#24350819)

    Where is the Google link then?

    I need "directions to this location".

  • by gwoodrow (753388) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:41PM (#24350821)
    Well that was awfully nice of you to post about it on a prominent website.
  • by fm6 (162816) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:47PM (#24350893) Homepage Journal

    Most pot growing is still illegal under California Law [canorml.org]. Under Prop 215 [wikipedia.org] you can grow pot for personal use provided your doctor has prescribed it.

    • by zenyu (248067) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:44PM (#24351475)

      Most pot growing is still illegal under California Law. Under Prop 215 you can grow pot for personal use provided your doctor has prescribed it.

      You can also grow it as a designated agent for someone who has a doctor's recommendation under California Law. The main catch is you can't transport it to them.

      Of course the federales can do a bust, but prosecuting people for trivial offenses which don't cross state lines is normally done on the State's dime; and I doubt the people of Wyoming want their taxes raised to keep all those California pot-heads in federal prisons if they manage to get a conviction. The feds just 'arrest' property, since when accused of a crime property in the USA is presumed guilty until proven innocent. Some individuals have put in a claim that their property is innocent of a crime and have had their pot plants returned, but this is rare -- and much more expensive than just growing some more, it is a weed after all.

      It's not just the federales harassing the citizens of California. Some local authorities do it too. They are allowed to enforce the silliest of federal laws in addition to the local laws. But the brunt of the federal law kicks in at cultivation of 100 plants or possession of 100 kilos. Many growers in California consequently stay at 99 plants or less. You can get jail time for smaller amounts, but it's generally a misdemeanor and you also need to find a jury that will actually convict. Their main goal is to harass their victims and 'arrest' any cash they find lying around.

      As to the topic at hand, you need to be a real idiot to install a road on your property without a closed gate at the entrance and not expect cars to accidentally drive down the road.

      PS I find no use for pot in my own life but cringe at the waste of money, lives, and freedom the 'war' has cost us.

  • I am by no means well versed in this area of law. However, it makes no sense to me whatsoever how under state law, the growing of pot is legal, but illegal under federal law.

    How can a state tell you that you are allowed to violate a federal law? And, what happens if the feds do raid? Would you be able to make an arguable case in court on the premise that the state in which you reside said it is ok to violate the federal law?

    Hoping someone can shed a little more light on this.

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:06PM (#24351093)

      I am by no means well versed in this area of law. However, it makes no sense to me whatsoever how under state law, the growing of pot is legal, but illegal under federal law. How can a state tell you that you are allowed to violate a federal law? And, what happens if the feds do raid? Would you be able to make an arguable case in court on the premise that the state in which you reside said it is ok to violate the federal law?

      It works like this, if the state has no law against it and policies in place, the majority of law enforcement (state troopers, county sheriffs, city police, etc.) don't bother you. The only way to get "busted" is if the FBI, BATF, etc. discovers what you are doing and goes after you. There is little the state can do to prevent that, but it makes it highly unlikely you will be arrested because the feds don't have the manpower.

      In at least one instance California was distributing medical marijuana through the state police, since state police are immune to federal prosecution for possession of illicit drugs in the course of their duty. Basically, it is just a way for a state to be as uncooperative with federal laws they disagree with.

    • It's a matter of enforcement. The local gendarmes are more plentiful than the feds. If the feds bust you, they're a higher court and precedent says you're screwed if you're growing pot in CA.

      Whether you argue for or against pot consumption is moot. If feds want to use google earth, it'll be tough to reason with a judge to get a warrant and bust someone, as google was acting illegally when they took the pics.

      At all levels, LEOs know where drugs are grown in CA. It's up to them to decide whether it's worth dr

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dubl-u (51156) *

      Would you be able to make an arguable case in court on the premise that the state in which you reside said it is ok to violate the federal law?

      In a word, no. A number of people licensed to grow or sell medical marijuana by their local cities have been sent to federal prison, and I believe they couldn't mention their local-government blessing in federal court.

      There's a good article [latimes.com] in today's LA Times. A guy who ran a dispensary is up on Federal charges, and at the top of the article is a photo of him cutting the ribbon with the whole city council standing with him. Boing Boing has some related coverage about the high school student with advanced c [boingboing.net]

  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:55PM (#24350961) Homepage Journal
    its whatever local company they contracted to do that business. they contract different companies in every country.
    • by kjart (941720) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:46PM (#24351499)
      That excuse is very weak - when you pay someone to do something, you take responsibility for the things they do to that end. You don't let a company off the hook for poor service because they outsource support to India, and people certainly don't get off the hook if they hire someone to murder someone for them.
  • As someone from outside the US, I'm a bit (actually, rather much) stumped by the claim
    that the legal status of doing something depends on who looks at the matter.

    I know there are differing laws about some things e.g. in Germany on state and federal level,
    but there are exact procedures on how to resolve such a conflict of law, and by result, in a single
    place, something is either legal or not.
    Completely independent from whether a matter is handled by state or federal police.

    I would have suspected the
    • Article 6 of the US Constitution: "This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land;"
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DoorFrame (22108)

      There are two sovereigns in play here, the regional California state government and the United States federal government.

      California, the regional government, has indicated that it doesn't violate California law, in some circumstances, to grow marijuana. California based law enforcement is under compulsion by state law to go after people growing marijuana in these circumstances.

      At the same time, however, there is a federal law that says that growing marijuana is illegal under all (I think, maybe excepting r

      • by Courageous (228506) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:25PM (#24353505)

        Federal law on this point preempts (trumps, overrules) state law on this point, thanks to the federal constitution.

        What part of "enumerated powers" as well as the 10th amendment (sort of a "we really meant it!" amendment) do you not understand? Why not actually try reading your Constitution. Powers are only assigned to the Federal government by enumeration in the Constitution (expressly), otherwise powers are held by the States or the People. See the 10th.

        C//

    • by Rob Kaper (5960)

      Dear neighbour, could you please tell me which laws from Brussels take precedence over national laws and which do not? The balance between state and federal government in the US might be unhealthy, but I'm not very reassured the EU is turning out to be any better.

      Your pot smoking neighbour from the west coast (Holland, not California).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DarkOx (621550)

      You are correct but there is a difference here between something being illegal and criminalized. If our ferderal government makes growning pot a crime, its a crime everywhere include the whole of CA. Now CA can decide its not going to enforce that federal law, or enforce it only conditionally, provided the codifiy the conditions they will enforce under ( still have to have due porcess and equal protection ).

      So you can be growning pot on your front porch in parts of CA and if a local cop rolls down the str

  • Yea and? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Duncan3 (10537) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:57PM (#24351005) Homepage

    Look, if you haven't figured out that Google and the governments of the countries they are in work closely together on everything from data mining to monitoring your activities by now... well you're just a fool.

    That's what we pay the CIA and DHS security goon squads to do, spy on everyone (but you of course, you're special and they aren't watching you).

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:16PM (#24351199) Homepage Journal
    the massive amount the cops are spending is doing nothing to discourage use, and all that really happens is that:
    A: Drug lords can make massive amounts of cash while engaging in very shady practices
    B: People's lives are ruined because they were caught setting small amounts of plants on fire(meanwhile idiots light up massive amounts of the legal plants in giant bonfires are a risk to themselves and others and yet go unpunished)
    C: Massive amounts of tax payer money are wasted chasing the former, and if they find them, even more is wasted putting them in a prison where they are no longer productive to society and branding them with a record that will cost them even more(and probably cause them to go from productive to an even BIGGER burden on society)

    Legalize it for use in homes, but make sure if someone is stupid enough to do it and go out driving that you bust their asses.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lixee (863589)
      Marijuana And Actual Driving Performance Executive Summary National Highway Traffic Safety Administration By Robbe HWJ, O'Hanlon JF November 1993 http://www.erowid.org/ [erowid.org] Abstract Abstract: This report concerns the effects of marijuana smoking on actual driving performance. It presents the results of one pilot and three actual driving studies. The pilot study's major purpose was to establish the THC dose current marijuana users smoke to achieve their desired "high". From these results it was decided that
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:31PM (#24351351) Homepage

    Google StreetView now has all of the major U.S. cities covered. Except the Washington, D.C. area. Of the top forty metropolitan areas in the US, Google has all of them covered except #8, the Washington D.C. area, and #20, the Baltimore area. There's no StreetView data for a 75-mile radius around Washington. They've covered Wilmington, DE and Richmond, VA, both about 100 miles from Washington, but that's as close as they get.

    They're working on rural areas of California. They've worked down to Knoxville, TN, Greenville, NC, and Boise, IH. So it can't be accidental that they've avoided Washington.

    One wonders why.

    • by BillTheKatt (537517) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:36PM (#24351397)
      They're probably worried about getting shot.
    • by amccaf1 (813772)
      I can't find a source for this[1], but I remember reading an article a few weeks/months ago stating that the reason Street View hadn't covered Washington, D.C. or Baltimore was because Homeland Security had requested that Google not do those cities. The rationale was that there are too many high-security establishments and they didn't want to give away any secrets.

      If that article was to be believed and that Google agreed with that request, then Government "secrets" which are apparently out in the public
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Al Dimond (792444)

        Ha. What a silly thing for the government to say. I know someone (living in DC) that's done a significant amount of contracting work for which he needed a security clearance from the Federal Government. He said that after all the procedures he went through to get the clearance he's become accustomed and desensitized to having machine guns pointed at his face. From the stories I've heard from him, if you're going to a location where you could potentially see something sensitive, that's the way you're tre

  • by mikael (484) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:46PM (#24351507)

    Just replace them with plastic pot plants - our local supermarket cafe actually has plastic pot plants that have 5 point leaves with the central point the longest and the side points the sdhortest.

  • by Baldrson (78598) * on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:20PM (#24351819) Homepage Journal
    Because while growing a substantial amount of pot is legal in Mendocino and Sonoma County under state law, it's highly illegal under federal law and would be grounds for a federal raid

    Doesn't the 10th Amendment prohibit such federal laws?

  • by jpellino (202698) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:45PM (#24352073)

    ... to get to our property.

  • Absurdium (Score:3, Informative)

    by eh2o (471262) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:32PM (#24353073)

    OK, first of all no medical MJ patient in their right mind would grow OUTDOORS. The cops are not the only problem--there is also theft and even armed robbery.

    Second, Google needs to be extra careful in rural areas. There are many places where the roads are privately owned but may not be clearly marked (there is one in my home neighborhood in unincorporated Sonoma county, in fact). The county knows about these full well (they won't pave them, for example). Google needs to check the land ownership records before they publish pictures... but this has nothing to do with pot growing, nor did TFA...

  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @02:27AM (#24355503) Homepage Journal

    Actions speak louder than words and this action scream out loud.

    What part of DO NOT TRESPASS do these people not get?
    They get it all right, but they don't care. For them, it's enough to say "call us and complain" or "we'll remove it if you sue us". Well, what about the giant yellow and black ROBOTS.TXT in front of my property? Why isn't that good enough?

    They want to be trusted with your email, your photos, your files, the details of your life. They want to intrude and invade. They will tell you that you should trust them and let them in because they do no evil. Google is god, they would never do bad and they just store data, they never use it.

    Well fuck you Google, you are evil because you don't give a shit about the harm you may do, only that you can get what you want. Just another rich greedy asshole out to make a dime at someone else's expense. Learn some respect for privacy, I know it may be hard since you as a company hate that word.

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