Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/24/surveillance_feedback_loop/

El Reg Street View snappers caught on camera

Surveillance feedback loops threaten fabric of time and space

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 24th March 2009 11:12 GMT

It's been live for less than a week, but Google's Street View has already got the press and privacy outfits in a bit of a tizz over the possible implications of having the UK's highways and byways, and indeed the citizens unfortunate enough to have been walking Blighty's leafy boulevards when the Orwellian Opel came a-calling, plastered across cyberspace.

Amid all the hand-wringing, however, there are some resolute souls who care not one jot if they're nailed by the search monolith's roving spymobiles: The El Reg counter-surveillance surveillance operatives, who submitted snaps to our now-legendary snoopcar sighting mashup:

View the Map (opens in a new window)

Well, following the first spot of what we have dubbed a "surveillance feedback loop", we received further examples of the watchers being watched by the watchers who in turn find themselves being watched on Street View.

Our initial plan was to pin these incidents to a new Web 0.2 mashup, but no sooner had we connected the first test shot back on itself using a Street View link to create a self-referring closed reciprocal photographic image bounce, than someone from the Vulture Central particle physics lab ran screaming to the server room and hit the very big red button which closes down all third-party apps.

The reason, we gather, is that by plugging a surveillance feedback loop into the internet, it's possible for the logic resonance to grow at an exponential rate to such a degree that it becomes self-aware within twenty minutes and rips apart the very fabric of time and space in a desperate attempt to escape into a dimension where Google doesn't own absolutely everything.

Accordingly, we've restricted our examples to simple .jpgs. Enjoy.

First up, here's Ray, who moved with panther-like agility to nail this black ops vehicle in Bristol:

Ray caught on Street View in Bristol

Here's our man in Coventry, caught in the open but returning fire like a good 'un:

Our man caught on Street View in Coventry

Andrew Macdonald, meanwhile, was delighted to have fought back in the hamlet of Harleston:

Andrew Macdonald caught on Street View in Harleston

We like this one, especially the strange effect provoked by flicking your eyes to and fro between the two takes of the bloke carrying the holdall. Good work by Stephen Hunt in London:

Stephen Hunt caught on Street View in London

Our Nottingham operative is notable for two things: His sheer bravado with the camera and the fact that he's the only one of you scruffy lot we've seen wearing a suit:

Our man caught on Street View in Nottingham

We've seen this one already earlier this week, but it's worth another shufti - James Herriott in Rickmansworth

James Herriott caught on Street View in Rickmansworth

And finally, here's what happens when you try sneaking up on a Wallsend cul-de-sac:

Our man caught on Street View in Wallsend

Oh ok then, here are the two final finallys... Snoopmobile captures fellow operative on the sun-dappled streets of London...

Street View spymobile captures Street View spymobile on Street View

...and may well have captured itself shortly thereafter:

Street View spymobile captures self in plate glass windows

If you look closely, you might just be able to see a small interdimensional rift opening around the car's all-seeing eye as photons are accelerated to beyond light speed in the infinite loop formed between the lens, the reflection and Google's Street View servers. Scary stuff. ®

Bootnote

If you've got any good UK Street View sightings, post 'em as a comment to this piece or throw me an email by clicking on my byline, above. We're knocking together a map of the best on offer for your viewing pleasure later this week.