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A Different Class War Take on Google Street View

April 11, 2009

A friend brought this to my attention in an email using the title of the post as the subject.

It’s not just philandering husbands who fear Google Street View’s roving cameras; the residents of a wealthy British village have taken to the streets as well. Literally.
Villagers in Buckinghamshire formed a “human chain” to stop one of Google’s vans from taking pictures for the Street View feature of Google Maps and Google Earth. One particularly irked villager stopped the van before rousing his neighbors to join him in the street.
His beef? Thieving poors should not be allowed to ogle his valuables! Here’s how he put it to the Times of London:
Mr Jacobs said: “This is an affluent area. We’ve already had three burglaries locally in the past six weeks. If our houses are plastered all over Google it’s an invitation for more criminals to strike. I was determined to make a stand, so I called the police.”
The van made a peaceful U-turn and left.
The story illuminates an important truth about privacy in the modern era: It’s not so much an illusion as a precious commodity, bought above all with the time and energy the rich have (or hire) in abundance.
Unfortunately, most people can’t afford nearly so much privacy as the citizens of Buckinghamshire. (One wonders how the police and driver would have responded if a similar mob had formed in a poor inner city neighborhood.) But don’t let that stop you from setting up a neighborhood Google Watch group if you have the time and inclination.

Rich people of the world unite!
There’s people out there that want your stuff!
As for the rest of us without much to steal, we hope to intervene in
other ways, check out Street With a View.

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