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Street View operatives object to being snapped

Edinburgh spycar crews fear 'reprisals'

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Edinburgh's Evening News has discovered that, when it comes to personal privacy, Google's Street View is a strictly one-way thoroughfare.

The paper was alerted yesterday that several examples of the Orwellian spycar fleet were being prepared for action at a disused garage site in Drum Brae South. It duly dispatched a snapper to record the action, but when he "began to capture the teams setting up the roof-mounted cameras, he was threatened with legal action".

Photographer Ian Georgeson explained: "I was standing on public ground taking photos of the cars when one of the drivers came over and said that they didn't want us to print their faces. He said if I used any shots of him they would sue us, because they were concerned about reprisals.

"He admitted they were a bit concerned about the way people would react to the cameras, but said they would be in Edinburgh for a couple of months at least trying to map the city."

Guy Herbert of UK civil liberties group No2ID told the Evening News: "That is an extraordinary situation, but it does seem to be the case that while large organisations, traditionally the police or councils, are happy to photograph the public, they are less keen on being photographed themselves.

"It would be interesting to see just what legal grounds they think they have to stop their picture being used that wouldn't also apply to the pictures they are taking, and I think they would be on pretty treacherous ground."

A spokesgooglette said the search monolith had "no problem with the cars being photographed, but admitted it did not want staff to be hindered in any way".

She concluded: "We are happy for people to take pictures of the cars - they are clearly identified as working for Google. We would not want our staff to be in any way stopped from doing their job, however."

Well, we're glad Google has no objection to people snapping its sinister black Opels, because here are the 110 or so sightings to date on El Reg's splendid Spot-the-Street-View Web 0.2 mashup:

View the Map (opens in a new window)

Oh yes, and the Evening News has published a photo of the snoopmobile-prepping here. ®

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