By Ian Gallagher, Tom Harper and Martin Delgado
You’re not Googling us: The Blairs, House of Commons and Google boss won’t have THEIR privacy invaded on Street View
Google was at the centre of new controversy last night after pictures of Tony Blair’s London home were mysteriously removed from its Street View web service.
it also emerged that Google’s own boss in the UK does not have his London house on Street View.
Anyone typing Mr Blair’s address into the website, which allows people to see 360-degree pictures of streets, including close-ups of houses and buildings, is met with the message: ‘This image is no longer available.’
While the front of Mr Blair’s house has been blacked out, it is still visible from a slightly different angle.
when the Blairs bought their Connaught Square townhouse they installed closed-circuit TV cameras around the building to address their ‘security needs’ – provoking anger from neighbours. Critics also pointed out that while in office Mr Blair presided over a ‘surveillance society’.
Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti said: ‘those who have perpetrated so much snooping protest personal privacy for themselves.
‘So much for “nothing to hide, nothing to fear!” ’
Guy Herbert of campaign group NO2ID said: ‘It is astonishing that a Government which gave council tax valuation officials the power to enter your home and take photos of it from the inside should worry about what ordinary people can see of their properties from the outside.’
Anyone in the world can now see close-up online pictures of millions of houses and buildings, sometimes even through windows
Some people, however, managed to escape the all-seeing spy cameras. Among them is Dennis Woodside, the boss of Google UK.
At the launch of the service,
Google spokeswoman Laura Scott said requests from members of the public for images of themselves or their homes to be removed ran into the ‘hundreds’. ‘I can’t be precise about the figure but it’s below 1,000, which isn’t bad considering tens of millions of locations can be seen on the site,’ she said.
Street View was launched in America two years ago and has since been expanded to cities in France, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.