Google Maps: Invading Your Privacy? (Not Anymore!)

Jun 8, 2007 • 10:37 am | comments (55) by twitter | Filed Under Other Google Topics

With the launch of Google Maps Street View, curious users have found some relatively inappropriate images. In a DigitalPoint Forums post, users discuss the impact of Google Maps Street View on privacy. After all, for awhile, you were able to see a woman in her underwear in this Google Maps location:

Now You See It

Well, not anymore, sadly. Google has since removed the image. Clicking on the link above will bring you to this page.

Now You Don't

How To Remove Images from Google Maps Street View

It turns out that people who are concerned for their own privacy can report the particular image to Google for removal. If you click on "Street View Help," you will be brought to a window that allows you to report the inappropriate image (bottom link).

Google Street Maps: Report Inappropriate Image

You will be brought to a page that allows you to fill out some fields about the infringing or inappropriate nature of the photo and then Google will consider its removal.

Google Street Maps: Reporting Form

It seemed to work out for that girl whose underwear is no longer searchable on Google Maps. (For the record, it wasn't me who reported it.)

Maybe this will appease the woman who called much attention to herself on Boing Boing. And she said she wanted privacy. After this article was published, I don't really believe that.

Forum discussion continues at DigitalPoint Forums.

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09/11/2008 04:54 pm

Being photographed in the street in fine with me.but, I did have a street view picture removed because the car taking pictures was on private property.No harm done.I don`t even care that much that I was photographed.But sometimes you have to act when they don`t regulate themselves.


12/30/2008 04:07 am

WOW! Because I have a corner lot home, 3 sides of my home and ALL of my yard are on google for any robber or thief to use as a blueprint. GOOGLE should be asking permission, and it shouldn't be up to me to ask for removal. This "service" leaves you and your family open to crime. A friend of mine was not aware that her home was photographed with her young 5 year old in the driveway. So google should've just put up a poster that said "Attention pedophiles, come to this address!!!" I am hoping that some lawsuits come out of Google Maps. Public streets are 1 thing, PRIVATE PROPERTY is another matter!


01/15/2009 06:13 am

While I think that a camera randomly taking pictures in public is not an invasion of privacy, it is shocking that these images are posted for public viewing. It's a fun site to play with right up until a person or license plate shows up in the picture. The notion that faces and license plates are blurred is a joke. I saw a picture of a truck driver staring straight at the camera from five feet. If I knew him, I could have identified him. This crap is to Orwellian, and I would guess that within a few months or years Google will be sued by someone with the financial power to get Street View shut down. Because a picture of my dad's truck is on the site, with the windows down and the back door open, crooks now know exactly what address to go to and either take the truck or the contents. Yes, he should lock it, but does Google need to advertise it?


02/09/2009 03:24 pm

I think people complaining about Street View are just paranoiacs. Sometimes I think Michael Moore was right about americans just being freaked out about "the big bad world" around them. 1. The pictures are several months old by now so if your dad had the car window rolled down, guess what - it's no longer the case 2. A bulglar can figure out how to get into your house after 2 minutes of looking at it and if he wanted to do that he can just walk down the street. What are you going to do? - Stop people from walking down the street and looking at your house? 3. Most of you people "concerned about privacy" probably have facebook/myspace/etc profiles where you carelessly publish all your personal details, pictures of yourself (and the inside of your house on the background) and give away much more than some rough blurry google map photo. Get a grip and get on with your life.


03/31/2009 12:42 am

i personally think that this street maps things is a complete invasion of privacy as iys shows your house your etc. which if not used correctly can be a forum for criminal activity. it is very inapporitate and extremely intrusive and we the public should have been asked permission before we were put on the internet for all to view.


04/25/2009 09:17 pm

I do not think google street view changes a thing if you have big bushes in front of your house it makes you a target to get rubbed get rid of them this is not a google problem this is your problem if say oh may neighbor hood is so safe that we do not lock our doors and half of us do not even remember where we put our keys and said what neighborhood i was in guess what would happen !!!! so you see what a bugler sees change it take away those big bushes bolt that air conditioner to the wall so that they can not push it in this is a simple unless you think we should walk around like Muslims cause we have a few cameras around does Google show what type of locks i have does google show if i have any unkeyed locks like a 2x4 across the door or a 4x4 jammed in the corner no they do not do they show what kind of window i have well i have a few lexan windows on my ground so go hit that with a hammer it goes thud they run this has happened a few times and half a dozen of our naghbors got robed 3 times in the past 5 years and it is just the same few neighbors i got robbed once i changed a few things and it never happened again to me they try they fail and cause no harm get over it poeple are not blind but if they ware half blind does that mean you should be half dumb just because you can they can still drive down the street nobody should be arrested for making a wrong turn into a so called good safe neighbor hood with a an old rusty pickup poeple who are complaing about this most likely are happy to see such police action because they want to restrict other peoples freedom to cover their own shortcomings


04/25/2009 11:21 pm

my problem is matter of location i am away from the main street with no foot traffic so unless brick up all the ground floor and basement windows and put in some big and heavy looking fire doors on the front and back some goof ball will still try maybe they found out about this location though Google but removing it from google will not fix it and all it would take with out google is a simple few blog posts or a simple few photos on a myspace with an address this would do the same thing and comes with no way to request to remove it so if i was looking to case a joint i would use google map it would allow me to see any place i want but if you remove your self from google i would assume you have some big bushes and or a big picture window in the back yard or just sunbathe naked in the back yard by getting your house removed from google you just flagging it as something to look at in person even with out google map buglers could case areas the same way with mayspace and face book it would take a bit longer but time is not in short supply for them when i am dead at 50 years from now my common sense will live on and poeple will be taking advice from a corpse and some poeple call them selves smart but their children will undoubtedly be taking advice from a corpse or two so lets be honest the majority of poeple who take my advice would refer to me as a corpse as my advice will be valid 200-300 years from now or longer


07/20/2009 06:28 pm

I find it interesting that I can get an up close and oh so personal view of my own house on google, but when I recently entered a friend's address, who lives in an exclusive gated community, I could not get closer than a distant arial view. Is this another example of money talking?


07/28/2009 06:05 pm

It seems to me that people who request to have their street views removed are just advertising they have something to hide. While the paranoid seem to have won out on this board, they will actually lose when people use street view in their real estate buying research. Other people's nice homes will be seen in context and purchased, while the paranoid will be left wondering why no one is coming to see theirs.


10/07/2009 10:36 pm

You people that think this is no problem are acting like frigg'n sheep. The problem is that you people cannot see more than 10 cm (= 6") in front of your noses, you have no vision. This "street view" thing is one more step to the complete loss of *your* privacy, to the complete loss of *controlling* your privacy. One day your TV/Monitor will not have an "off" switch. Just keep your head down & munch away, while the corral goes up around you.


10/08/2009 03:45 pm

Given it's cool. But that's it. Google Maps or any map application is more than enough information to assist even the most directionally challenged traveller. Knowing that there is a good subset of people who are going to use the application simply to snoop and see where people they know live is wrong. And Google needs to suck it up an deal with that fact. Taking a picture in public is not wrong. Indexing these pictures so that any joe blow can peruse my personal space is.


10/18/2009 05:32 pm

Google maps is enough information, as is mapquest, as step by step directions are given. GPS' are great for that too. But do you really need to let people know where the first floor windows are and how many doors there are to gain access to a house? Personal safety is a real concern. There have been a lot of home invasions in my parents' city, and they don't live in an area that's got expensive houses and the expensive security systems to go along with them. Now, anyone who wants to break into a house doesn't have to be worried about looking suspicious as they scope out their target. They have google streetview for that. Congratulations.


11/03/2009 01:48 am

I can't believe anyone would stand up for this. Taking pictures in public isn't wrong true but when is the line drawn? It sounds like people are being groomed by watching too many reality tv shows. It's not okay to take pictures of people's PRIVATE homes, their cars without their permission period. Did all of these corporations that invade privacy forget that without their customers they wouldn't even have money?? I'm just seeing a growing trend of disregard for human rights and then spinning words and phrases around to make it seem okay.

Love my PRIVACY, hate Google

11/04/2009 07:30 pm

I wish all the Google hacks posting here to laud their employer and poo-poo people who express a reasonable expectation of privacy, would get back to their jobs, where they can do enough harm to satisfy any Big Brother. Stalkers and exes with intent to murder, don't need to have it made easier for them to get detailed information on how to get to and get into their intended victims' homes. Google should change their name to Big Brother, Inc.


11/12/2009 09:16 am

Google map needs respect people privacy. Removed all seen image of my home, image 400 feet away is fine


12/09/2009 05:40 pm

I have Google maps on my phone, prior to installing the update it states that Google Maps will have access to all of my phone calls and access to my text messages and access to all of my contacts. This is total bullshit. Why would they need access to my text messages and phone calls. Who is Google in cahoots with to spy on us???


12/11/2009 05:59 pm

I agree with both sides of this issue. In other words, I don't like it and I do think that it's unnecessary and invasive, but at the time it's not as if anyone driving/walking down your PUBLIC street can't see the same thing. Even if you're walking your dog through your neighborhood, don't you sometimes take a quick glance at a house where maybe the shades/curtains are up and happen to notice the people inside? That's not to say that anyone should make a complete stop and leer into anyone's life, but I do think that noticing things is just normal behavior.

Stella Bells

12/15/2009 04:22 am

google street view goes against the PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) which clearly states that if any individual's personal information of any sort is used for commercial activities, the organization must seek consent prior to using it. Right now, my face is blurred but not completely gone giving others a chance to figure who I am, and also, my whole body (in clothes)excluding my face is visible. That is my personal information and yet nobody asked my consent. even if Google let'syou report complaints, what if someone was on Google street view without knowing and yet if they knew they would never let it happen? will they also be stuck on the web while google invades their presence at a particular spot!


12/16/2009 09:16 pm

I can't wait until "do no evil" gets sued for a few billion when their street view is shown to have been used to help plan a robbery that results in a murder, and that's ignoring the principle of right to privacy. You people harping about the "law" and expectation of privacy would have fit in quite well in NAZI Germany where the law allowed Jews and any other "trouble makers" to be rounded up and exterminated. Who cares what the "law" says. What about what is right. If it's so ok because the pictures "just" show what can be seen from public property, then why doesn't that apply to military bases and other government installations. Answer: some animals are more equal than others -- Orwell


03/13/2010 05:12 pm

My road has been raped by google earth. I live in a totaly residential edge of town. I have beautiful scenery and no through traffic. My house is quiet and we work hard for our living. But now i feel like my home has been burgled and the area is now part of the busy world. I live here for the isolated feeling and the peace. If my road is searched and blogged and the area "raved" then it will be ruined. Why oh why is this legal to publicise every house in the world. Maps are fine they serve a purpose. Business's can have there own websites. We can phone ahead and ask for directions or use a sat nav. We do not need google street view, it is non essential and pays computer geeks money so they can drive ferrari's that is all. For people who like it - fine go show your house on your own website but don't include me. I have the right to say no and our voices should be heard.


05/13/2010 03:45 pm

There are stalkers and all kinds of people out there. It's hard enough trying to move or stay away from people you don't want to be around. Now Google finds a way to not only let them know EXACTLY what your home looks like, but has the audacity to take pictures that feature vehicles and license plate numbers also. Google needs to SUED!!!!!

Lance W

08/02/2010 07:35 pm

If a journalist can take a picture of your house and post it in the newspaper without your permission (and they can), then google can post their pictures as well, they just have more of them. The street is public property, having a few pictures of your house (even if it's private property) is not against the law. No petition or law suit will get them to take it down. No blueprints to your house can be obtained from a simple photo, you can't "case a house" from a photo. For robbers to see the activity in your home, they're not going to be sitting on street view. Why aren't you suing your neighbours across the street? They've got a constant view of your house. Hell, people walking past your property get a better view of your property. You have no right to privacy in a picture taken from a public place.


09/22/2010 02:30 pm

your right to travel information is not superior to my right to privacy...yes the street is public property...but the right to photograph me and my property for profit are inferior my to privacy because you publish images of my private property on the internet (for profit) without my espress permission...


10/22/2010 04:39 pm

I need help with google erath , to watch over my car in the parking lot at work , because some vandals are damaging my car please help


11/07/2010 03:18 pm

what does google care about privacy and imagess when in the google wegits page shows near 100 wegits of images with under aged girls in there under things. thats right. google publishes such images.


01/28/2011 02:02 am

You people are being robbed of your freedom one piece at a time and you don't even care. That is until it hits you in the caboose, and you are slaves to the one. You'll figure out who that is soon enough. I will be gone then, but will have done my best to have enlightened you. I wish you the best in your enslavement.


05/01/2011 05:15 am

You have no idea what PIPEDA covers, it covers Data, medical records tax info banking not a photo of your house FROM THE STREET! Parinoid, unless you live in a gated community whats the difference between a low res picture and someone driving down your street? As for the "pervert" angle how is someone going to know what house in the thousands of miles has a little kid in front of? And assume that kid lives there? has anyone used google streets to try to look for something on a street? I can walk faster than it takes to view the images on a given street. People say burglers and perverts are smart well they are very stupid to use google street views to look for a target.


05/01/2011 05:29 am

Someone is stalking your car? You act like your small street is the only street on google streets there are thousands of miles viewable on google streets it would be faster to drive and look than use GE to check for victims. If someone wants your Car they can just follow you, you do drive in public don't you?, and then come back later. What is a license plate going to tell them? If they like your car in a parking lot your city sticker will tell them more about where you live then a state plate. For the record you cannot look up a plate address from the DMV only police and people working at the DMV can do that. If you have a friend who says he can them he is feeding you a big line and has been watching to many movies.


05/01/2011 05:35 am

Would you exactly tell use how this could happen? Someone who would plan something like this can just drive by you house with a cell phone camera and get a better picture while moving, no need to stop, and more current photo of your house than what google earth can provide.

Annie Oakley

06/18/2011 05:45 pm

Thanks to Google maps, we were robbed. Thanks, Google


09/07/2011 07:36 am

My home is in an enclosed area, marked private property and somehow now google street view has come into this area with 200 other homes and taken pictures.  That is an invasion of privacy and I want my home picture removed.  I understand if it is taken on public streets,  these homes are not on public streets.  How can this happen?


09/30/2011 09:20 pm

because the robbers left a note saying they found your house on Google?


09/30/2011 09:24 pm

And they found  your house on Google from obtaining your street address from some other source... sue them not Google.


10/06/2011 01:32 pm

I agree.  With the news that  millionaires homes were broken into and robbed because of google earth, google should make a clear and easy access for everyone who wants their privacy to "hide"/remove their information.


10/24/2011 08:13 am

These comments are  hysterical.  Check out the dates on the images.  Someone I know is in a photo going to a cafe in Sydney.  He's been in Antarctica for the last seven months.  Sorry.  Just how does Google maps aid car thieves and burglars?   The photo of my own house is at least three years old, I have had two different cars since then.  


10/26/2011 05:58 pm

In checking on a service address I found the resident pictures were that from the rear of the home from an alley.  This is totally inappropriate and sets a home up for criminals.  I reported one address and noted that all the homes in that area where photographed from the alley (from something very high) so as to see into the back yard and rear of the home.  I received an email stating that they would take care of the one I reported, but I  don't know if they are going to get the photographer(s) to redo the appropriate photo's??????


11/07/2011 10:16 am

I agree with both sides... I don't like the images of my house and my families places being on google earth. I also agree with the laws and regulations set and established by our goverment. So to do my part in getting things change to the way I feel it should be I will be voting this time around. Thats why we live in a democracy. Granted it's not working out very good but one can still hope.


11/30/2011 10:58 pm

I do NOT agree with google maps why should they have photos of my property for anyone to view. Big brother is watching whats next implants put into are children when they are born. We need to stop invasion of privacy before it's too late


12/10/2011 06:27 pm

I don't mind having pictures of my property. I look for them to be updated all the time but the views are so old. I wish it was more current. Big brother is gonna be watching us regardless...that will never change. I just wish they'd use that to help find missing people or solving other crimes.


12/29/2011 03:58 am

this is fuked up


01/12/2012 05:17 pm

People.....Protect your Privacy now or Project your Privacy to Zero and accept the consequences. and remember all Social Media is public domain....Use alias's/handles don't give out real id information. In the days of CB radio Smokey never knew who was who....get smart.   Data Storage space is so damn cheap now everything you do and say in a lifetime is being stored. Stand up for your Rights. Don't be Sheep.Sheep are commodities, along with Pork Belly's etc.Commodities have No Rights.Q


01/19/2012 08:25 am

In a sane world, Google would have to request our permission to do the things they are doing.   Where are our so called representatives who think we should have to spend our lives defending just normal privacy.   Who is Google to photograph people's homes?   They certainly aren't providing us with burglar alarm systems.


01/21/2012 11:23 am

i would like my houyse taken off street view as im having alot of trouble in brakeing in and stealing very exspensive gear


01/22/2012 09:21 pm

What difference does it make seeing your house in street view compared to seeing it in real life? The law technically says anything or place that can be seen by the public is considered public, that includes people. A tort law says anyone or anything out in public shall have no expectation of privacy, so taking pictures is perfectly legal and fair game.


01/29/2012 09:09 pm

I live downtown in a major city, and there I am walking into my building on Street View.  I'm not upset about it, more trying to figure the million to one odds.  Maybe billion, trillion to one.  Weird.


02/20/2012 06:45 pm

This is boring, rarely... because what would be funnier was if you could see in your house! And sneak up on other people in their house, what I mean is like spy on them, live, seeing what they are doing! I could spy on my relatives, that would be awesome! But no... It's just not that way! :(


02/22/2012 12:42 am

It's not google's fault, houses have been broken into before google existed so you can't automatically blame them. Who says they even saw your house on google. And anyway how exactly is it different than a burglar walking past your house, seeing something nice through your window in plain sight and then taking a perfectly legal picture of your house to study.


03/01/2012 07:12 pm

4 years ago I moved to this address and SPECIFICALLY  asked to have the image of this property, which had been recently taken REMOVED....It WAS (past tense) AND NOW IT'S BACK...Same photo....WHY ? It would also appear that unless you Register with a Google account (which I don't want anyway) you can't even get to copntact these people who are still invading your privacy.... BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.!!


03/22/2012 01:58 pm

You back yard is not in public...idiot


04/05/2012 03:17 pm

I work for a company where at times I must use Google Maps to located an address, driving directions, etc.  However, I've noticed that most of the time the address views are of the rear of the residence and not from the front.  Why would Google have photo's of residences from the alley?  You would think this would be a definite security issue. I hope they clear this up as Google Maps is really a great product.

Ann Oyed

04/16/2012 01:31 pm

Photos taken from street level on public roads may be "Legal" (although in questionable taste), but the view of my property is from about 15 feet ABOVE street level and looks into my bedroom from about 20 feet away. If ANY private individual were found to be taking such images the Police would rightly stop and detain them. So how is it that Google were not handed some sort of cease and desist order years ago??


11/24/2012 11:11 pm

leave google alone, if there is something you don't want seen, keep it indoors. as far as outside, you should be fully clothed. as for hiding from someone, don't get yourself into situations where you feel the need to hide. someone you don't want over, tell them not to come over.

gooney googoo

06/11/2013 01:44 am

Give me the address and Ill makes sure it gets removed. LOL


07/26/2013 08:26 am

A lot of the times in big named cities: Nashville, L.A., ect. Celebs will have there houses taken off. For example Carrie Underwood and the other celebrities in her neighborhood got it where, since they live in a gated community ''Street Views" are not allowed. But from knowing her personally it's not cause she is hiding anything, she has a beautiful home. It is because she don't want a bunch of fans and press stalking her!


04/06/2014 08:08 am

I wonder if I can locate the scumbags who robbed my house using this feature. Wouldn't that be a kick in the head?

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