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Censorship Google Your Rights Online

German Photog Wants to Shoot Buildings Excluded From Street View 327

Posted by timothy
from the irregular-shoot-'em-up dept.
crf00 writes with this report excerpted from Blogoscoped: "'Spiegel reports that German photographer and IT consultant Jens Best wants to personally take snapshots of all those (German) buildings which people asked Google Street View to remove. He then wants to add those photos to Picasa, including GPS coordinates, and in turn re-connect them with Google Maps. Jens believes that for the internet 'we must apply the same rules as we do in the real world. Our right to take panoramic snapshots, for instance, or to take photographs in public spaces, both base laws which determine that one may photograph those things that are visible from public streets and places.' Jens says that for his belief in the right of photographing in public places, as last resort he's even willing to go to jail. Spiegel says Jens already found over 200 people who want to help out in this project and look for removed locations in Google Street View, as there's no official list of such places published by Google."
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German Photog Wants to Shoot Buildings Excluded From Street View

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  • Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:47PM (#33310016)

    This doesn't seem to be a "The man is restricting our rights", more of a "people are nicely asking for some attempt at privacy", and this asshole (Jens Best) wants to say "FUCK YOU, I'm going to go against you because I can, even though you were nice enough to ask otherwise"

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:51PM (#33310050)
    I doubt that there's a reasonable expectation of privacy involved here. So consequently there is a right involved, whether or not he's an asshole, he does have a point. Previously you could take pictures of pretty much everything in public view.
  • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cappp (1822388) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:57PM (#33310076)
    But previously those pictures you took of things in public view would most likely end up in some boring slideshow that only you and your unfortunate friends would ever see. Now I can sit here in my boxers on a random Friday night and digitally stroll up and down a random street 3000 miles away. "Public view" was once local, in much the same way public was once "immediate and present." Using google maps in this way makes the entire internet community your viewing public, billions of potential watching eyes where once there were thousands.

    I'm not sure really how I feel about that, surely locals have the right to request their homes not be broadcast to the entire world? Is there some greater public good I'm not considering?
  • Re:Erm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:58PM (#33310088)
    Um, so you have the right to not have the exterior of your building viewed by anyone? I don't honestly see how that is any sort of right. Explain to me this "right" not to have pictures taken of your building? If Google came on your private land to take pictures, that is a problem, but you have no expectation and no right to privacy with the outside of your building. Don't like it? Build a fence or something.
  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:04PM (#33310128)
    So? Does it really matter? People really over-analyze things, I'm sure that other people really think that everyone is watching your Twitter feed, the thing is, its all lost in the shuffle, just because someone -can- doesn't mean that someone will. I -could- go look at people's homes in Japan, that doesn't mean I will, just like someone -could- stalk someone using Twitter, but lets face it, no one cares you aren't suddenly so important that someone will spend time looking at your house.

    Unless you are the president or a singer or actor. No one cares.
  • Re:Erm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fredmosby (545378) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:05PM (#33310136)
    Sometimes you have to be an asshole to stand up for yourself. For example, if someone politely makes an unreasonable request you should still say no.
  • Re:Erm... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:13PM (#33310178)

    Bullshit. Apparently Jens Best and 200 other people care.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cgenman (325138) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:14PM (#33310184) Homepage

    You can still take pictures of everything in public view, and so can Google. And Google is being nice and taking down their own photos if you ask them to. Maybe they got the photo when your son had his car up on blocks. Maybe they happened to photograph you just as you were doing something embarrassing. Maybe you're being stalked, and don't want someone to recognize your car in the driveway. Maybe you're just paranoid.

    Either way, Google is being nice by taking down photographs upon request. This is not a legal requirement, or censorship, or anything like that. Raging against people who ask to have buildings excluded from a commercial map application seems... misplaced somehow.

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:29PM (#33310248) Journal

    Yes, but how far did you push back when you were challenged?

    It's really pretty clear that a photographer has certain rights to shoot photos anyplace in public in the U.S.A. Government has often tried to intimidate photographers, under the guise that "national security" demands they cease, or alternately, lower-level security protests under false claims that some "policy" was violated.

    The Amtrak photography incident comes to mind: http://carlosmiller.com/2008/12/27/amtrak-police-arrest-photographer-participating-in-amtrak-photo-contest/ [carlosmiller.com]

    A good guide to your REAL photographer's rights can be found here: http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm [krages.com]

    Having a gun pointed at you is a pretty strong intimidation tactic, yet if you're confident you're in the right, you can still stick up for your rights in that situation. Some soldier driving out to meet you in a Hummer is probably NOT prepared to fire a weapon at a civilian photographer. WAY too many consequences for an action that extreme. So you *could* have let them arrest you and take your camera, rather than complying ... and you'd have a really GOOD chance of coming out the victor.

    But let's face it.... that skyline photo probably wasn't something you wanted badly enough to fight for it.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trentblase (717954) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:31PM (#33310256)
    This is exactly my thought. As far as I know, nobody is saying you CAN'T post photos of these homes. Google is just being nice and recognizing that some people may not like it. And the homeowners are reasonably taking Google up on the offer to remove photos. This guy is being a dick to those homeowners for the sake of what... documentary completeness?
  • by gweihir (88907) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:45PM (#33310326)

    That is what this guy basically is. There is a good change he will run foul of the law in addition

  • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KahabutDieDrake (1515139) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:57PM (#33310378)
    What, you mean like the thousands of cameras pointing at streets already? The ones I can click on and get an image, in real time, of that street? The ones the state DOT already operates on every major highway, freeway and intersection? Like those?

    What the hell are you afraid of exactly? That in the modern age of information someone COULD find out almost anything about you, where you are at any given moment and every word you've ever said online? I wonder if you are young enough to think that wasn't always possible.
  • Re:Erm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:04PM (#33310406)

    Raging against people who ask to have buildings excluded from a commercial map application seems... misplaced somehow.

    This is because you don't know the political context. Anti-Google rhetoric, especially concerning Street View, is commonplace right now in Germany, first and foremost by politicians of ruling and opposition parties, fueled by the publishers who don't like Google because they think Google News steals readers and ad revenue.

    The issue is perceived as defining the border between those who appreciate the Internet making theoretical rights practical, like the right to freedom of speech and the right to take photos in public, and those that consider the Internet a threat and would probably like it to go away.

  • by bm_luethke (253362) <luethkeb@cREDHATomcast.net minus distro> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:04PM (#33310410)

    ...it is about not being a douche bag.

    Really, it isn't illegal and that isn't why Google removes them. He isn't going to get arrested so his willingness to have that done is irrelevant. What he is doing is being a a major asshole and justifying being proud of it under some "information wants to be free" meme.

    My address, phone number, and a great deal of other information is certainly public knowledge - one can look it up on the internet (and I even use an abbreviated version of my real name so it isn't even that hard), yet I still wouldn't want all that attached to every post I made. There is a great deal of public information that we *all* would rather not telegraph in that well a concise and easy simple way to view. I'm willing to be this guy has a number of things about his life he considers private, is legally not, and would be royally pissed if people made a point of putting it on the internet. If someone walking down the raod asked politely to not be photographed few would call him a hero of anything if he then not only followed them taking all the photos he could but made sure that everyone singled them out to show what they would rather have private - no different here. I don't care about my picture being on Google Street View (well, other than the car was taking pictures when a police man was telling me to move my truck is parked in the road because someone up the street complained - we are on a dead end road. It's amusing as you can clearly tell I'm out on my front porch, the police car in the street, and the man in Blue talking to me - but then I find the thing more amusing than anything especially since I can pinpoint the exact time the car want by) and can't really see why anyone would care - but if they did it is called being a nice person to remove it.

    If he wants to push a real cause go take photographs of military installations or secure places like nuclear power plants. But then there you are actually likely to have real consequences instead of just being a douche bag and making people mad. Plus it is places that are actually illegal to photograph, used to be legal to do so, and there is a great deal of debate on what should and should not be allowed. Peoples houses in mapping software? Not so much - as is he is simply trying to make himself feel better by doing something minor/worthless and rationalizing that it is somehow, in someway, actually edge and dangerous. Yea, go stick it to the man! Just wait until these people see their houses photographed on the Internet, that'll show !

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:07PM (#33310420)

    That I may not be important in your eyes doesn't mean I don't have a right to privacy.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:13PM (#33310452) Homepage Journal

    What the hell are you afraid of exactly?

    I'm walking with a hot piece of ass. I get a surprise call from a private number and answer it and put it on speakerphone, because everybody likes me and nobody hates me. The caller, a familiar person of the opposite sex, says, "You're taking her to our place, Jerry. The one where you first asked me out. You told me you wanted a baby, Jerry. Did you fuck her in our bed, too?! " My date gasps in horror and then I have to jerk myself to sleep that night.

    But seriously, some of us consider creepy voyeuristic eyes crawling all over us to be negative attention, not positive. And, like the average gutter-slut, you consider both to be the same. Just leak your own sex tape and get your own "reality" show, for fuck's sake.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iktos (166530) * on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:16PM (#33310460)

    Fences is sort of what this is about, I think; Google photographs from a camera which is higher up than the conventional "public view".

  • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by westlake (615356) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:22PM (#33310488)

    Unless you are the president or a singer or actor. No one cares.

    Unless you have a teenage daughter like Elizabeth Smart. The notion that only celebrities are stalked is nonsense.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Draek (916851) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:29PM (#33310516)

    surely locals have the right to request their homes not be broadcast to the entire world?

    No, they don't, and that's why projects like this are needed. To remind people that fucking over photographers with paranoia and idiotic boogeymen is NOT a right, and shouldn't be in any society that calls itself Free.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:31PM (#33310520)

    Amusingly, you call him a gutter-slut, when everybody reading this thread has the strong impression it's the other way around. Just so you know, how you communicate determines people's opinion of you; that might explain why people react to you the way they do.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:35PM (#33310534)

    Either way, Google is being nice by taking down photographs upon request. This is not a legal requirement, or censorship, or anything like that.

    Not yet.

    Clearly a lot of people felt strongly enough that this sort of activity constituted some sort of invasion of privacy to make the effort to ask Google to take the photos down. Clearly Google felt there was enough of a risk (legal, PR or otherwise) in not doing so that they instituted a policy to comply with these requests, and they have introduced various other policies for related reasons.

    If people like this Jens guy won't voluntarily respect that and want to deliberately upset all those other people just because they can legally do so today, then the law can always be changed tomorrow to fix that problem. This is the basic flaw in the whole "You have no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place" argument: it based on law rather than on ethics, and ignores the fact that laws are supposed to change as the world does, including keeping up with the implications of new technologies and how people feel about them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:39PM (#33310550)

    After all who can say no to the photographers right to take pictures in a public place, but who can say no to someone's right to keep the front gardens off of a publicly accessible mapping system.

    This is not even particularly difficult. Yes, the photographer can take pictures in public places. No, you can't keep your publicly-viewable gardens from being photographed. That is the legal answer, and (in a happy coincidence) the ethically correct position.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by c0lo (1497653) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:43PM (#33310572)

    just like someone -could- stalk someone using Twitter, but lets face it, no one cares you aren't suddenly so important that someone will spend time looking at your house.

    It's irrelevant if others cares or not.
    I care, I own the place and I would prefer not to have an image of my home posted on the Internet without my permission. The problem in discussion is: do the fact that I care matters or not? (do I have a right to stop someone making public a photo of my home on the Internet?)

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Draek (916851) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:46PM (#33310578)

    Huh. And what happens to people's desire for a complete and detailed database of public places rather than one filled with holes "just because"? what happens to the feelings of photographers everywhere that wish to excercise their hobby, their profession, without harrassment from total strangers? why is it only one side that gets to screw over the others' feelings and sentiments? and why does it have to be the one that doesn't have the law on their side?

    Ohh, that's right. Because it's the one you agree with.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WillDraven (760005) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:08AM (#33310690) Homepage

    And it also reminds people that making your house, or secret military base, or corporate headquarters, appear as an unexplained blank spot in an otherwise comprehensive public database draws more attention to you than leaving it there in plain view would.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nacturation (646836) * <nacturation AT gmail DOT com> on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:16AM (#33310728) Journal

    surely locals have the right to request their homes not be broadcast to the entire world?

    No, they don't, and that's why projects like this are needed. To remind people that fucking over photographers with paranoia and idiotic boogeymen is NOT a right, and shouldn't be in any society that calls itself Free.

    Perhaps this photographer isn't going far enough. How about for every place that asked to have their imagery removed from Google Street View, register a domain name in their address (eg: 1234-Main-Street-Berlin-Germany.de) and have a 24x7 webcam pointed at the front of the house with live streaming video and the ability to browse back through interesting moments via motion sensor timestamps. After all, there's no right to privacy so why not go all the way and allow the entire world to watch someone's house all the time?

  • by tibit (1762298) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:16AM (#33310730)

    So how do you draw the line between what's acceptable viewing/photography, and what's not. To me, a reasonable expectation of privacy would be in within an optically obscure enclosure. Say in your home, with curtains drawn, or window blinds closed. If someone had a radar imager, I'd be quite pissed: it's not reasonable to expect people to live in Faraday cages. But there's nothing reasonable in obsessing about street view pictures -- how do those invade my, or anyone else's, privacy? I just don't get it. Someone has raised an argument that since street view van cameras are higher up, they can look over the fences and make it easier to scout out potential targets for thieves. I guess it's time I took the time to write down the damn serial numbers from any expensive equipment I own. Other than that, the insurance covers me against theft. I should take a few pics of each room, to make it easier to prove ownership of certain things -- as an alternate to having a part-time job of billkeeping. All that stuff will probably end on google's servers ;)

  • Re:Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:35AM (#33310810)
    Not sure what you're inferring from the summary, or implying with your "moral high ground" comment, but he's not trying to "stick it" to Google. Google have just complied with requests to remove the photographs. I think he's going to do what they can't(or won't) do, i.e. take pictures and link them to Google maps. If the same people want to request that those photographs be taken down, presumably Google won't be able to just remove them...as they are expected to do when it's their photographs and they're trying to avoid a lawsuit/Bad PR. Even if Google does take them down, he can still find some other way to do it..

    Why Google removed them in the first place I have no idea. Photographs taken of anything from the street must surely be allowed on the grounds that there's no reasonable expectation of privacy if your building is situated on a public right of way?
  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by T Murphy (1054674) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:50AM (#33310866) Journal
    People opted out of Google's maps, not being in any picture, ever. This article has nothing to do with amateur photographers pursuing their hobby, but an attempt to force everyone to be included in a commercially created database. This is like making a phone book of unlisted phone numbers. If you want to see what's missing on Google Earth, go see it yourself- just like how you can call an unlisted phone number if you really want to. If someone isn't interested in being included in Street View, chances are you wouldn't care about them if they were included, so I don't see much of a claim of harm being done by people's request for privacy. Keep in mind the people opting out simply contacted Google and were done with it- no harassment involved.

    If people taking personal pictures were being harassed, I would be right with you on this, but this guy is just putting his sense of entitlement ahead of people's wishes. The law doesn't dictate what is right (see copyrights and patents)- sometimes discretion is needed.
  • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Friday August 20, 2010 @01:09AM (#33310922)

    Even in public there is such a thing as privacy.

    There are restrictions to e.g. making photographs of people and publishing them without permission if that person is the subject of the photograph. There are restrictions on the requirements of producing ID documents. And so there are many more. Walking around a public street doesn't mean there is no such thing as privacy any more.

    There is more to privacy than staying at home with the curtains drawn.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Friday August 20, 2010 @01:15AM (#33310942)

    http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf [krages.com]

    Even in public there is such a thing as privacy.

    True. But it is extremely limited.

    From the PDF:

    Members of the public have a very limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public places. Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, restrooms, medical facilities, and inside
    their homes.

    Permissible Subjects

    Despite misconceptions to the contrary, the following subjects can almost always be photographed lawfully from public places:

    accident and fire scenes
    children
    celebrities
    bridges and other infrastructure
    residential and commercial buildings
    industrial facilities and public utilities
    transportation facilities (e.g., airports)
    Superfund sites
    criminal activities
    law enforcement officers

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by severoon (536737) on Friday August 20, 2010 @01:15AM (#33310944) Journal

    Yea, you're right. Even without Google Street View I don't like the idea of someone 3000 miles away being able to just hop on a plane and be looking at my house in a couple of hours. Screw that, ban people from looking at my stuff if they're not from around here.

    But...oh wait. That's stupid.

    Public view is public view. It means anyone, on any given day, can see it. 1 person or 1000 people, what's the difference? Facades are meant to be seen by other people...they're designed for it. I don't have a problem with Google making the deision to be courteous to a few people here and there that don't want their home on there, but if too many people started making that request I hope and expect that they would say, you know, now it's starting to hurt the reason for having it in the first place, so sorry, we're doing away with that and now everything will be visible.

    This isn't about Google's right to collect and show information, either. It's about my right to see it. If I can go there and see it, then I can have a friend with a smartphone show it to me live (iPhone Facetime, for instance) or take a photo and show it to me. If my friend can do it, why can't Google?

    I might just as well say I don't want people to see my face when I go out in public either, but I'm not willing to wear a burqa, so you'll just have to look away to respect my nonexistent right to privacy. It's silliness. Something is either allowed or it's not. This is.

  • by yyxx (1812612) on Friday August 20, 2010 @01:40AM (#33311040)

    Really, it isn't illegal and that isn't why Google removes them

    Germany is trying to make it illegal.

    My address, phone number, and a great deal of other information is certainly public knowledge - one can look it up on the internet (and I even use an abbreviated version of my real name so it isn't even that hard), yet I still wouldn't want all that attached to every post I made.

    How is that relevant? Google Streetview doesn't prevent you from being anonymous, nor does it identify you in any way. It gives people access to pictures of public places.

    If he wants to push a real cause go take photographs of military installations or secure places like nuclear power plants.

    Generally, photographing those is also legal. When there are restrictions, they are legal, too.

    His cause is to ensure that what is currently legal remains legal, so that (among other things) bloggers and an independent press can continue to take photographs and publish them.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cappp (1822388) on Friday August 20, 2010 @01:56AM (#33311106)
    That's a really good point and I find myself wondering if maybe that comes to the core of my discomfort. Should all public information be so readily available that it doesn’t require even a modicum of effort to access? If you took the time to drive over to my place then sure, look to your heart’s content. Flew a thousand miles? Enjoy harassing the locals for photo opportunities. But just pulling it all up with the click of a button? That seems qualitatively different somehow.

    I guess I'm going slippery-slope on this, and perhaps not thinking rationally, but isn't there value in the idea that some information requires an investment of energy to access. I'm thinking of sex offenders for some reason - there are many good reasons for having publically accessible lists but does that mean that they should be conveniently attached to Google-maps complete with photographs and all contact information? Our laws were constructed without any comprehension of the ease of access the modern day provides nor of the reach purportedly local info has. A lot of public info was deemed public as long as that selfsame public was going to march down to the courthouse, or whatever, and invest effort in their search – that effort almost served as a defence against low level abuse. Maybe I just need to reconsider the idea in its totality – either way you’ve given me something to think about so cheers for that.
  • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Psychotria (953670) on Friday August 20, 2010 @03:45AM (#33311518)

    If people taking personal pictures were being harassed, I would be right with you on this, but this guy is just putting his sense of entitlement ahead of people's wishes. The law doesn't dictate what is right (see copyrights and patents)- sometimes discretion is needed.

    Well, that's just it, isn't it. People's "wishes" play no part. I wish people like you didn't post, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be allowed to.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tehcyder (746570) on Friday August 20, 2010 @03:50AM (#33311550) Journal
    You are almost as much of an arsehole as the photographer. You both have no idea why people might not want themselves on Google street view, they might be in fear of their lives from abusive spouses, be asylum seekers afraid of foreign governments tracking them down, who knows?
  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by richlv (778496) on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:10AM (#33311622)

    if _people_ opt out, i don't think that is an issue. if buildings start opting out, then we do have an issue.

    the main issue here is the ability to take photos in public places and share them. we've read too many articles about problems with that, and i have been stopped by overzealous home owner for taking a photo of his housenumber (for openstreetmap purposes).
    public place is a public place. if you want to shield yourself, build a fence that can not be seen through. some people do that, although it looks more like a prison to me.
    i will argue for privacy, but i will also argue for freedom of photography and sharing.

  • by richlv (778496) on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:37AM (#33311712)

    wouldn't a person who tries to restrict and censor the right to take photos in public places be a "douche bag" ?
    you know, all those private security officers, policemen and other assholes we have been discussing in previous /. articles who have been harassing photographers ?

  • Re:Erm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jedi Alec (258881) on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:45AM (#33311738)

    In your country, I do not. However, I do not live in your country, I live in mine. Guess what, I *do* have a reasonable expectation to privacy, even in public.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tehcyder (746570) on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:50AM (#33311758) Journal

    I'd rather have a stalker that hangs out on Google Earth than standing in the bushes.

    Because obviously one can't lead to the other. Not ever. The internet is entirely separate from real life, it's just like one big happy computer game.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by boethius78 (1002975) on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:53AM (#33311764)
    It's pretty simple - don't be a sociopath. People who answer calls on speakerphone deserve everything they get and more.
  • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Skater (41976) on Friday August 20, 2010 @06:39AM (#33312070) Homepage Journal

    I'd rather have a stalker that hangs out on Google Earth than standing in the bushes.

    Because obviously one can't lead to the other. Not ever. The internet is entirely separate from real life, it's just like one big happy computer game.

    So what's the difference, then? I fail to see the additional risk Street View imposes in this situation. It wouldn't be that hard for a stalker to snap a picture just like Street View of whatever the stalker is looking at.

    Your argument has a "think of the children" ring to it (except it'd be "stalked women" instead of children of course). Please clarify exactly what additional risk is incurred when Street View has taken a picture of a house where a stalkee lives. (Full disclosure: my house and RV have been visible on Street View for several years, though I'm male and haven't been stalked. I had good reason to think a murderer was going to come after me at one point, though; fortunately he never got out of jail.)

  • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Skater (41976) on Friday August 20, 2010 @06:47AM (#33312096) Homepage Journal

    Unless you have a teenage daughter like Elizabeth Smart. The notion that only celebrities are stalked is nonsense.

    ...So Elizabeth Smart was abducted with the help of Street View? (No.) So, if it were available, how would Street View have changed the abduction? Made it easier? In what way?

    A lot of these anti-Street View arguments seem to come down to emotions rather than facts. (My house and RV are visible on Street View and have been for several years. I'm okay with it.)

  • Re:Google (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tehcyder (746570) on Friday August 20, 2010 @07:24AM (#33312258) Journal

    Why Google removed them in the first place I have no idea.

    Then you are a clueless twat.

    They were asked to, and thought it might not be a good idea not to piss off potential customers by refusing. It's called civility, something a that seems to get forgotten around here with people blathering about their "rights".

  • by beh (4759) * on Friday August 20, 2010 @07:31AM (#33312310)

    Let's ignore the question of the legality of google streetview itself (as far as German law is concerned) for the moment.

    This photographer doesn't just assert his right to take panoramic photos - he also asserts the right to completely override a person's wishes.

    If someone registers NOT to have their home photographed, and he goes there taking photos and publishing them either way, is that the right way to deal with people?

    I wonder - what are all the legal things I am perfectly in my right to do around him if he's out in public - particularly those he might not enjoy so much?

    So, picture this 'A' asks for something NOT to be done.
    B goes out of his way to do EXACTLY what person A asked NOT to be done.
    (You might want to note, that the photographer did not have the intention to go and take photos of any of the buildings, UP UNTIL he finds them pixelated in street view).

    Think carefully:

    1) is B fighting for the freedom of the net? (or however he might want to justify his action)

    2) is B just plain an , for decidedly overriding the wishes of those applying for their houses NOT to be pixelated?

    Think very carefully - there are many things perfectly legal that YOU as a person might still not want done TO or immediately AROUND you - but it's exactly that, that the photographer is aiming for.

  • by beh (4759) * on Friday August 20, 2010 @09:36AM (#33313686)

    I am an active (hobby) photographer, so I do know about the restrictions.

    I DO also get pissed off with people trying to restrict me from taking photos. But if someone kindly asks me not to take a photo of their property, I will accept that.

    This guy wants to take photos of the buildings of those whose place are pixelated in street view, ONLY because the respective owners or tenants DO NOT WANT it.

    And that's plain just a transgression of common decency of one human being to another.

    If the photographer is genuinely interested in a building that happens to be pixelated in street view, let him take photos of it - as far as I'm concerned, even let him publish the photo. But just taking photos of houses BECAUSE the owner doesn't want it, irrespective of whether the house looks dull, amazing, rich, poor, in good nick or a dump...

    And - for the record, the house I currently live in IS on street view, and I don't give a rats ass on whether it's on there or not. But, just as I would like my own wishes against what I might consider annoying behaviour respected (if someone felt he needed to behave like a complete twat around me), I think the wishes of those people who do NOT want their houses on street view should be respected.

    This should be very basic common decency of one human being to another.

    Something that seems increasingly harder to find...

  • by Blue Stone (582566) on Friday August 20, 2010 @09:36AM (#33313688) Homepage Journal

    So ... if I wish that you would stop posting to slashdot, you would be morally bound to respect my wishes? After all, to do otherwise would be to "completely override a person's wishes" and I have registered my desire that you NOT post anymore and you'd explicitly post anyway? Is that "the right way to deal with people?"

    You'd be overriding my wishes not to see your posts here, in my own home! Not just in public - IN MY OWN HOME - invading it with your unwanted posts! How outrageous of you!

    Of course I have no desire to see anyone stop posting to slashdot, let alone you, just pointing out that the crux of your argument - that someone's wishes (whether they register them or not) is a ludicrous basis for restricting the actions of another in and of itself (and where no harm is inflicted).

    With respect, maybe you should "think very carefully" and a little more deeply about the matter yourself (and before you instruct others to).

  • by Shadowmist (57488) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:53AM (#33314794)
    Slashdot unlike a private home is not your property. If you're viewing my post it's because you're making the effort to do so. you've virtually "left your wall to come here" so your straw argument does not apply. While I understand Schneider's perspective in the "War on Photography", I also see the other side. As a former photographer myself I can make the unequivacal statement that many phtographers are quite simply... jerks who feel they have the right to take what they want from other people in the name of "news" or "art". Taking pictures of someone home to post on streetview SPECIFICALLY because they've requested them to be taken down smacks of the kind of arrogant asshattery I'm referring to.
  • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by painandgreed (692585) on Friday August 20, 2010 @11:13AM (#33315070)

    Ever had a stalker?

    I'm sorry, but if you already have a stalker, who already has your address as well as a detailed knowledge of what your street looks like including the buildings on either side of yours, preventing somebody from posting a picture of your building as seen from the public street is not really going to help you. I'm surprised that even seems like a comforting idea. It much more likely that your stalker would post said photo and you could use that to get a restraining order or press charges for breaking one, than that it would ever aid him in stalking.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by apoc.famine (621563) <<apoc.famine> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday August 20, 2010 @11:13AM (#33315082) Homepage Journal
    Nice strawman.

    Stalking is an issue, and is illegal almost everywhere. Stalking, however, has nothing to do with this. At all. You might as well say that we need to abolish the white pages, because it will allow a stalker to find out where you live. Have to get rid of GPS systems, because stalkers could use them to figure out how to get to you. Abolish digital cameras, because stalkers could use them to take pictures of you, your house, your car, etc.

    You might as well have just slapped a "think of the children" on your post, and have been done with it.

    The good that google street view does is enormous. It allowed me to check out apartment locations from 1000 miles away, before I moved. I could see what kind of neighborhood they were in. Fences around every house, or open yards and parks? Miles of concrete and asphalt, or acres of grass and trees? It allowed me to get to know a small French fishing village I was going to be visiting, from the middle of the US. When I got there, I knew my way around, knew my landmarks, and had a fantastic time. I've used it to learn how to navigate through tricky mazes of one-way streets before I got there. Checked for parking areas before I spent half an hour driving around looking for the closest one.

    This isn't about taking pictures of you in your living room with your head up your ass. This is about taking pictures of streets and buildings - the things that everyone sees every day driving past your house. The only difference is that people from thousands of miles away can virtually drive past your house. So what? Do you care about the tens to hundreds to thousands of people who drive past in real life every day? If so, you'd better get the hell out of any town, and find yourself a place with a mile long private drive.

    If you want privacy, you need to be far from roads where people can see you. If you're living in a moderately populated place, you don't have privacy outside the walls of your house.
  • by beh (4759) * on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:30PM (#33319170)

    If you were the OWNER of slashdot, I would likely follow your wishes if they were for me to stop posting.

    But since you're not - I don't think you're in a place to 'demand' it (whether it would be within the law to demand so or not).

    This is a place for discussion, and as such, anyone is invited.

    Your house is on private ground - but obviously, it HAS to border on some public space through which to access it. In that public area, you may take whatever photos you like - but even on public ground, if a person living right next to that particular spot would kindly ask you not to take photos of THEIR possession, which is visible from said public space, then they should get their wish.

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