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Google Caught On Private Property 668

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 tecknoh ( 1138163 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:52PM (#24350931) Homepage
    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.

  • 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).

  • Re:Don't snitch.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flaming error ( 1041742 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:00PM (#24351039) Journal

    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:In other words (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IvyKing ( 732111 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:03PM (#24351067)

    Here is an interesting idea: Don't break the fucking law.

    I hope you intended that to apply to Google as well - trespassing is breaking the law.

    It might take a shitload of well deserved invasion of privacy lawsuits against Google for them to get their act together and do the Streetview correctly. Whoever planned the picture taking for Streetview obviously had little experience with the laws relating to photography - wonder if anyone there ever heard of a "model release".

  • by slugo3 ( 31204 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:08PM (#24351119)

    Excuse a non American dude here, but if growing pot within the boundaries you describe is legal according to the state, how can it be illegal nationally?

    Which one of the systems has precedence?

    Excellent question. I believe the founding fathers of our country intended state law to take precedence.

  • 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 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.

  • 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 OpinionatedDude ( 1323007 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:54PM (#24351583)
    The DEA undoubtedly has access to plenty of super secret spy satellites that would allow them to read the license plates on the trucks servicing the pot plants you claim can be seen by street real time. Street maps is of no relevance in this instance.
  • Re:In other words (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:58PM (#24351633)

    Technically the knowledge that there was pot growing on the property would not be admissible in court, because the means of obtaining that information was illegal in the first place. Classic fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine.


  • Re:In other words (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grumbel ( 592662 ) <> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:02PM (#24351679) Homepage

    The good thing about total surveillance is that it will make the unjust laws stand out and expose them to the public.
    The bad thing is of course is that many people will get into trouble before the laws are adjusted back to fit reality.

  • Re:Don't snitch.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lordofwhee ( 1187719 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:06PM (#24351723)
    We already have laws against driving while under the influence or while intoxicated, and people drive drunk all the time. There are exactly zero negative effects of legalizing pot that aren't already present in the widespread use of alcohol, and already illegal. The illegality of pot is a blanket, stopgap measure that's better fixed with other existing laws. So, why is pot illegal? Personally, I blame religious bigotry, but there's always the legendary 'think of the children' BS politicians love to pull.
  • Re:Don't snitch.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Poingggg ( 103097 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:08PM (#24351733) Homepage

    I don't think you have any idea what you are talking about. I am Dutch and many of my friends smok(ed) cannabis. I have seen them drive (and traveled as a passenger with them) and I'd rather be in a car with someone who had just smoked a big joint then with anyone who drank just one beer. When high, one tends to drive more careful than normal. Alcohol makes one forget their responsibilities, cannabis does not. Probably the people you saw (or claim to have seen) were what we call 'stronken' which, in English would translate to 'strunk', a combination of stoned and drunken, a very bad combination. I have never seen any of my friends seen driving when they had drunk, having smoked or not.

    The fact that alcohol is legal and pot is not has nothing to do with the effects on society (which are a lot worse for alcohol as they are/would be for legal cannabis), but mostly with a paranoid stance that was initiated by the USA because some influential politicians growing wood for paper production needed an excuse to ban hemp when a method was found to make better and cheaper paper out of it that endangered their business.

  • Re:Don't snitch.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:29PM (#24351909) Homepage Journal
    "2. If you stand next to me and drink a beer, _I_ don't get drunk. Pot's not like that. I can't even walk to my car these days without having to breath some asshole's cigarette smoke (allergic, not my fault, didn't ask to be) and I damned sure don't want to get high getting to or from my car."

    You know...pot doesn't have to be smoked, it can be ingested orally. So, if someone is eating some hash brownies, it is then ok with you...since you won't get a contact high from the smoke?

  • Re:Don't snitch.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jarjarthejedi ( 996957 ) <> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:44PM (#24352059) Journal

    Fine by me. Go dig for plutonium. Have fun. And when you're done, I've got a bridge in Brookland to sell you.

    (Here's a hint for the chemistry disabled. Plutonium is not a naturally occurring element, at least in any reasonable amount).

    And on a more serious note, I wouldn't care at all if you started digging up Uranium. Now, if you try to use that to harm me, or try to enrich it, then I have a problem, but Uranium isn't a big deal on its own.

  • Re:Don't snitch.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FamineMonk ( 877465 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:57PM (#24352171) [] []

    I don't understand how you can ban one product that has grown out of the ground for 1000s of years and at the same time sell alcohol and cigarettes.

    Why should I be a criminal because I want to get high and watch TV or play video games with my friends instead of drinking or smoking myself to death like my grandparents did.

    As for the driving under the influence, the same could be said for quite a few over the counter products. The faster we get our robot drivers the happier I will be.
  • Re:Don't snitch.. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2008 @07:39PM (#24352549)

    You are only partly right on that last part. the demonization and criminalization was the work of many forces all with one goal: making money. Whether it was DuPont wanting to sell nylon or the various news and media companies stoking the frenzy to sell papers, books and films, many people played a role.

    If I remember right also, the modern drug policy had it's genesis because of a vocal group of upper-class white "concerned" parents in the late 60s who caught their 12 year-old children having a party with pot and Mad Dog (cheap wine). If I remember right LaGuardia (probably the best New York mayor - that is who the airport is named after) had just released the study he commissioned (saying there is little to nothing wrong with weed) and I think under Nixon there was some talk of relaxing or getting rid of the pot prohibition due to his own similar study. But this parent group organized other parent groups and they march on Washington because they were "concerned" about the devil weed.

    One more example of how America was betrayed to the nanny state ... "b-b-b-b-but the children!!" If I caught my kid doing that you can bet his back porch would be a deep scarlet shade of red, but I would laugh in your face if you told me it should be a federal law.

  • Re:In other words (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KGIII ( 973947 ) <> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @07:41PM (#24352567) Journal

    In America we are all guilty of something. The laws are too vague to not be.

    Some years ago there was a movement that had the idea of rewording all the laws to plain English.

    It is the duty of every citizen to be a law-abiding citizen (in most cases). In order to do this you have to know what the actual laws are and, as we all know, we don't. We need specialists, lawyers, to interpret them for us because they use archaic language that is not understood by the common citizen.

    The gist of their ideals was that the laws would be written so that anyone could read their local tax code and actually understand it as well as all the other laws. I didn't expect it to go anywhere, the movement, but they had some interesting thoughts on the process that it should take and the reasons that it should happen.

    Go take a look at your local laws for something that you probably "know." I'd suggest the actual laws for operating a motor vehicle. Should be no less than ten volumes of gibberish if you found the right office to read them.

  • Re:Snitch! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:06PM (#24352815) Journal

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

    And by "right" do you mean "in compliance with all municipal codes" or "not harming anyone" or "perfectly reasonable and harmless behavior"?

    Maybe you examine what about your own behavior isn't "right" and get out of other people's business. I think you'd be surprised just how well a society can work without help from self-righteous tools.

  • 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.

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

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:19PM (#24352947) Journal

    it causes people to forget their responsibilities and become generally unreliable, since nothing seems all that important.

    Did you ever think that maybe it's the irresponsible and unreliable people who are the ones who smoke pot all day?

    I'd have thought that with all the slashdot readers who are techies, I wouldn't see so many comments that show a poor grasp of the difference between cause and effect.

  • So your point is... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:36PM (#24353115)
    that if the Supremes say that green is in fact red, it's true?

    BS, and BS to Wickard v Filburn, too. We are not a nation of law, and haven't been for many years. It's all a disingenuous, self-serving scam to keep the proles in their place.
  • Re:In other words (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Doc Daneeka ( 1107345 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:19PM (#24353465)
    What statute do you use to make Federal law trump that of State or Local in this particular situation?

    Is it prohibited using the Federal Legislature's Commerce Clause? If so, then why did the Prohibition of Alcohol movement use a Constitutional Amendment (18th) instead? How do we reconcile the Commerce Clause with the 9th and 10th Amendments? There are just too many questions that no one in a position of power wants to, or is able to, answer.

    These arguments aside, I would like the government to at least present scientific data and studies that back up the reason to ban marijuana. If the case could be made for the ban, there wouldn't be as big of a counter movement. (I am not a smoker, toker, drinker, etc. I am not pro- or anti- drugs. Given valid evidence and studies, I would like us to be able to have a rational, national discussion.)
  • Re:Don't snitch.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:24PM (#24353495) Homepage Journal

    Correlation != Causation.

    I smoke pot REGULARLY as a medical user. I don't forget a damned thing except maybe where the hell I put my keys. I'm on time for all appointments (And on-time is 30 minutes early for me,) and I never slack off until ALL WORK IS DONE.

    But then again, I'm the sort of person that's in so much pain I CAN'T function without the pot (and I'm 100% opiate intolerant, NSAIDs do not work, and cocaine-based drugs make my heart race so hard I collapse.)

    Where'd that anecdotal evidence of yours go, now?

  • 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:Don't snitch.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LiENUS ( 207736 ) <> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:42PM (#24353617) Homepage
    Your story reminds me of when a friend of mine tried to kill herself then called me. She had asked some passersby (who were black) if she could use their phone, they offered to call the police she said no and called me instead, I get there and ask them to call the cops they do while I sit there holding her wrists. The cops show up and one of the guys says "look the cops are here" I looked at the cop car turned my head back and looked at them and they were gone. I thought to myself "hmm that was rude" until the cop came up and gave me the third degree. At that point I was kinda afraid he was going to arrest me for helping save someones life.
  • Re:Don't snitch.. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:54PM (#24353701)

    Why does it have to be a sawed off shotgun?

    I rarely go into the bank without my Ruger.

    Of course this is perfectly legal to do, provided the firearm is worn in a visible manner, or concealed as in my case, with the appropriate permits.

    My gun, the one that I routinely carry into the bank, has a much greater range and is much more accurate than any short shotgun.

    So excuse me if I've missed your point. Don't be in line in front of me when you rob my bank, by the way.

  • by Al Dimond ( 792444 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @11:33PM (#24354461) Journal

    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 treated until you're identified. My experience working at Argonne National Lab (near Chicago) was somewhat similar though not as strict (there were armed guards but they didn't point machine guns at my face while they searched my car; there's a 9.5-mile running trail around the perimeter and all the potential back entrances had at least significant barbed-wire fences, but probably also alarm systems). I don't think the Google van would get very far going accidentally down the wrong roads.

    As for stuff that can be seen from the public streets... I'm not sure what exactly terrorists could hope to find that they couldn't find in other books of photos, with better quality.

  • Re:Don't snitch.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @12:11AM (#24354691) Homepage Journal
    "The fact that alcohol is legal and pot is not has nothing to do with the effects on society (which are a lot worse for alcohol as they are/would be for legal cannabis), but mostly with a paranoid stance that was initiated by the USA because some influential politicians growing wood for paper production needed an excuse to ban hemp when a method was found to make better and cheaper paper out of it that endangered their business."

    Actually, from the documentaries I've seen was made illegal more to be used as a tool against early, early mexican migrants into the US.....much like cocaine was made illegal because they said it "made blacks rape and murder white families in the south"...back in the day.

    Pot was made illegal, according to what I've been seeing and readin lately, as a tool to help move the mexicans back to mexico in the old days.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?