By Andy Dolan and Eddie Wrenn
When villagers in the […] village of Broughton in Cambridgeshire spotted a Google Street View car creeping into sight, they leaped into action and formed a human chain
The villagers complained Google had no right to take pictures of their homes, calling it an ‘invasion of privacy’ and an ‘invitation for burglars to strike’.
The impromptu protest started on Wednesday when Resident Paul Jacobs spotted the Google car – which was unmarked but featured the tell-tale 360-degree rotating camera fixed on a pole on its roof – cruising slowly down his lane in the Buckinghamshire village.
He dashed outside, confronted the driver and told him that he was not allowed to continue, before alerting police.
Mr Jacobs, 43, then knocked on his neighbours’ doors and a crowd of angry residents surrounded the black Opel Astra, forcing it to make a U-turn and quickly leave.
Mr Jacobs, who works for a global entertainment company, described Street View as a ‘burglar’s dream’.
Google snoops: The company says its Street View images help housebuyers but the village disagreed
‘I don’t mind estate agents taking pictures but this shows people how to get in and how to get out. I was determined to make a stand so I called the police.’
Another villager, John Holmes, said Street View was ‘an invasion of our privacy’
The service from Google – which became famous for its internet search engine – allows anyone in the world to type in a postcode or street address online and call up pictures of a house, its gardens and neighbouring buildings as viewed from the road.
it has been accused of invading people’s right to privacy.
Last month Google unveiled images from the first 25 cities in Britain to be captured on cameras. But the mobile cameras have continued to add more localities to the firm’s online service as part of its plan to film the ‘great majority’ of British towns, cities and large villages by the end of next year.
A spokesman for Thames Valley Police confirmed: ‘A squad car was sent to Broughton at 10.20am on Wednesday to reports of a dispute between a crowd of people and a Google Street View contractor.
‘A member of the public had called us to report that he, along with a number of others, was standing in the middle of the road preventing the car from moving forwards and taking photographs.
‘They felt his presence was an intrusion of their privacy. When police arrived at the scene, the car had moved on.’