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German Photog Wants to Shoot Buildings Excluded From Street View

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the irregular-shoot-'em-up dept.

Censorship 327

crf00 writes with this report excerpted from Blogoscoped: "'Spiegel reports that German photographer and IT consultant Jens Best wants to personally take snapshots of all those (German) buildings which people asked Google Street View to remove. He then wants to add those photos to Picasa, including GPS coordinates, and in turn re-connect them with Google Maps. Jens believes that for the internet 'we must apply the same rules as we do in the real world. Our right to take panoramic snapshots, for instance, or to take photographs in public spaces, both base laws which determine that one may photograph those things that are visible from public streets and places.' Jens says that for his belief in the right of photographing in public places, as last resort he's even willing to go to jail. Spiegel says Jens already found over 200 people who want to help out in this project and look for removed locations in Google Street View, as there's no official list of such places published by Google."

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Google (-1, Offtopic)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310008)

Of course, it's google's servers and they can do what they want, so there's not much moral high ground in uploading the photos back to Picasa.

Re:Google (1)

PiAndWhippedCream (1566727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310020)

If the man wants to tilt at windmills, I say let him.

Re:Google (5, Insightful)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310810)

Not sure what you're inferring from the summary, or implying with your "moral high ground" comment, but he's not trying to "stick it" to Google. Google have just complied with requests to remove the photographs. I think he's going to do what they can't(or won't) do, i.e. take pictures and link them to Google maps. If the same people want to request that those photographs be taken down, presumably Google won't be able to just remove them...as they are expected to do when it's their photographs and they're trying to avoid a lawsuit/Bad PR. Even if Google does take them down, he can still find some other way to do it..

Why Google removed them in the first place I have no idea. Photographs taken of anything from the street must surely be allowed on the grounds that there's no reasonable expectation of privacy if your building is situated on a public right of way?

Erm... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310016)

This doesn't seem to be a "The man is restricting our rights", more of a "people are nicely asking for some attempt at privacy", and this asshole (Jens Best) wants to say "FUCK YOU, I'm going to go against you because I can, even though you were nice enough to ask otherwise"

Re:Erm... (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310050)

I doubt that there's a reasonable expectation of privacy involved here. So consequently there is a right involved, whether or not he's an asshole, he does have a point. Previously you could take pictures of pretty much everything in public view.

Re:Erm... (2, Insightful)

cappp (1822388) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310076)

But previously those pictures you took of things in public view would most likely end up in some boring slideshow that only you and your unfortunate friends would ever see. Now I can sit here in my boxers on a random Friday night and digitally stroll up and down a random street 3000 miles away. "Public view" was once local, in much the same way public was once "immediate and present." Using google maps in this way makes the entire internet community your viewing public, billions of potential watching eyes where once there were thousands.

I'm not sure really how I feel about that, surely locals have the right to request their homes not be broadcast to the entire world? Is there some greater public good I'm not considering?

Re:Erm... (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310128)

So? Does it really matter? People really over-analyze things, I'm sure that other people really think that everyone is watching your Twitter feed, the thing is, its all lost in the shuffle, just because someone -can- doesn't mean that someone will. I -could- go look at people's homes in Japan, that doesn't mean I will, just like someone -could- stalk someone using Twitter, but lets face it, no one cares you aren't suddenly so important that someone will spend time looking at your house.

Unless you are the president or a singer or actor. No one cares.

Re:Erm... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310178)

Bullshit. Apparently Jens Best and 200 other people care.

Re:Erm... (2, Interesting)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310706)

If they cared about privacy, they wouldn't draw attention to themselves. By distinguishing themselves out of the other millions of people who have had their place of residence indexed on google street view, they have effectively induced the Streisand effect.

If their goal was to feel special then I say mission accomplished.

Re:Erm... (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310260)

Just wait until Google makes deals with local governments and/or businesses to install a series of cameras.

It'll be Street-view in real time and governments wouldn't complain as long as they have their piece of the eye. In the name of "national security," of course.

And people may or may not care, but all it takes is one voyeuristic stalker-dickhead to make your day unnecessarily pleasant.

Re:Erm... (2, Insightful)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310378)

What, you mean like the thousands of cameras pointing at streets already? The ones I can click on and get an image, in real time, of that street? The ones the state DOT already operates on every major highway, freeway and intersection? Like those?

What the hell are you afraid of exactly? That in the modern age of information someone COULD find out almost anything about you, where you are at any given moment and every word you've ever said online? I wonder if you are young enough to think that wasn't always possible.

Re:Erm... (1, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310452)

What the hell are you afraid of exactly?

I'm walking with a hot piece of ass. I get a surprise call from a private number and answer it and put it on speakerphone, because everybody likes me and nobody hates me. The caller, a familiar person of the opposite sex, says, "You're taking her to our place, Jerry. The one where you first asked me out. You told me you wanted a baby, Jerry. Did you fuck her in our bed, too?! " My date gasps in horror and then I have to jerk myself to sleep that night.

But seriously, some of us consider creepy voyeuristic eyes crawling all over us to be negative attention, not positive. And, like the average gutter-slut, you consider both to be the same. Just leak your own sex tape and get your own "reality" show, for fuck's sake.

Re:Erm... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310520)

Amusingly, you call him a gutter-slut, when everybody reading this thread has the strong impression it's the other way around. Just so you know, how you communicate determines people's opinion of you; that might explain why people react to you the way they do.

Re:Erm... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310842)

I suggest not going out in public if this is your argument.

Re:Erm... (4, Interesting)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310416)

Ever had a stalker? Sometimes people do care. It can be kind of frightening. Especially for a young woman.

There's another side to this apart from the legal side. There's the community side, which is to say the common (? or not so much, any more, sadly) courtesy that makes the difference between a narcissist or an outright sociopath and someone who understands that sometimes, just because you can, doesn't trump "this person really doesn't want me to, is upset about it, and you know what, maybe I can have a bit of a heart and say okay".

This gentleman may have the law on his side, but I would be quite impressed if he took the stance of "I'm going to be a human being and take another person's feelings into account". Call me old-fashioned or idealistic, but I think that may just make the world a better place, in some small way.

Re:Erm... (4, Funny)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310462)

I'd rather have a stalker that hangs out on Google Earth than standing in the bushes.

You got it (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310802)

Mmm Zerth, how I love thee.

Oh wait... that is what you look like naked... nevermind.

Anyone attractive^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H human around I can stalk?

Re:Erm... (5, Insightful)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310578)

Huh. And what happens to people's desire for a complete and detailed database of public places rather than one filled with holes "just because"? what happens to the feelings of photographers everywhere that wish to excercise their hobby, their profession, without harrassment from total strangers? why is it only one side that gets to screw over the others' feelings and sentiments? and why does it have to be the one that doesn't have the law on their side?

Ohh, that's right. Because it's the one you agree with.

Re:Erm... (4, Insightful)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310866)

People opted out of Google's maps, not being in any picture, ever. This article has nothing to do with amateur photographers pursuing their hobby, but an attempt to force everyone to be included in a commercially created database. This is like making a phone book of unlisted phone numbers. If you want to see what's missing on Google Earth, go see it yourself- just like how you can call an unlisted phone number if you really want to. If someone isn't interested in being included in Street View, chances are you wouldn't care about them if they were included, so I don't see much of a claim of harm being done by people's request for privacy. Keep in mind the people opting out simply contacted Google and were done with it- no harassment involved.

If people taking personal pictures were being harassed, I would be right with you on this, but this guy is just putting his sense of entitlement ahead of people's wishes. The law doesn't dictate what is right (see copyrights and patents)- sometimes discretion is needed.

Re:Erm... (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310420)

That I may not be important in your eyes doesn't mean I don't have a right to privacy.

Re:Erm... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310850)

That I may not be important in your eyes doesn't mean I don't have a right to privacy when not in public

Fixed!

Re:Erm... (2, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310922)

Even in public there is such a thing as privacy.

There are restrictions to e.g. making photographs of people and publishing them without permission if that person is the subject of the photograph. There are restrictions on the requirements of producing ID documents. And so there are many more. Walking around a public street doesn't mean there is no such thing as privacy any more.

There is more to privacy than staying at home with the curtains drawn.

Re:Erm... (5, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310942)

http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf [krages.com]

Even in public there is such a thing as privacy.

True. But it is extremely limited.

From the PDF:

Members of the public have a very limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public places. Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, restrooms, medical facilities, and inside
their homes.

Permissible Subjects

Despite misconceptions to the contrary, the following subjects can almost always be photographed lawfully from public places:

accident and fire scenes
children
celebrities
bridges and other infrastructure
residential and commercial buildings
industrial facilities and public utilities
transportation facilities (e.g., airports)
Superfund sites
criminal activities
law enforcement officers

Re:Erm... (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310488)

Unless you are the president or a singer or actor. No one cares.

Unless you have a teenage daughter like Elizabeth Smart. The notion that only celebrities are stalked is nonsense.

Re:Erm... (3, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310572)

just like someone -could- stalk someone using Twitter, but lets face it, no one cares you aren't suddenly so important that someone will spend time looking at your house.

It's irrelevant if others cares or not.
I care, I own the place and I would prefer not to have an image of my home posted on the Internet without my permission. The problem in discussion is: do the fact that I care matters or not? (do I have a right to stop someone making public a photo of my home on the Internet?)

Re:Erm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33311000)

If you don't want your house to be in public view then perhaps you should not have built it next to a public road. Face it, your house already is in public view and it's nobody's fault but your own for putting it there. Next time, buy a big forest and build it there. Be sure to inform yourself about all the inconviniences that come with that so you won't have to complain on /. about not having broadband access or something like that.

Re:Erm... (1)

ptrace (1078855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310656)

I agree. As a matter of fact, the fact that a house or building is blurred-out will likely attract more attention from someone browsing Street View. This is similar to the fuss Barbara Streisand made about aerial photos of the Malibu coast that happened to include her house. The more noise she made about it, the more people flocked to the net to find out what the fuss was about. Thousands upon thousands of more people saw pictures of her house than ever would have had she just ignored it.

Re:Erm... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 4 years ago | (#33311024)

The point is not whether it's legal, or whether it matters, but that this guy is being an asshole just to make a stupid point. It's like he's saying "omg someone wants privacy in the internet age, I will make it my mission to stick my tongue out at them!" In fact, I think this dork actually believes he's doing the world a favor.

Re:Erm... (1)

eldiabloencarne (1882562) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310204)

Well whaddya know... It is a small world after all.

Re:Erm... (2, Insightful)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310516)

surely locals have the right to request their homes not be broadcast to the entire world?

No, they don't, and that's why projects like this are needed. To remind people that fucking over photographers with paranoia and idiotic boogeymen is NOT a right, and shouldn't be in any society that calls itself Free.

Re:Erm... (4, Insightful)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310690)

And it also reminds people that making your house, or secret military base, or corporate headquarters, appear as an unexplained blank spot in an otherwise comprehensive public database draws more attention to you than leaving it there in plain view would.

Re:Erm... (3, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310728)

surely locals have the right to request their homes not be broadcast to the entire world?

No, they don't, and that's why projects like this are needed. To remind people that fucking over photographers with paranoia and idiotic boogeymen is NOT a right, and shouldn't be in any society that calls itself Free.

Perhaps this photographer isn't going far enough. How about for every place that asked to have their imagery removed from Google Street View, register a domain name in their address (eg: 1234-Main-Street-Berlin-Germany.de) and have a 24x7 webcam pointed at the front of the house with live streaming video and the ability to browse back through interesting moments via motion sensor timestamps. After all, there's no right to privacy so why not go all the way and allow the entire world to watch someone's house all the time?

Re:Erm... (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310652)

I'm not sure really how I feel about that, surely locals have the right to request their homes not be broadcast to the entire world? Is there some greater public good I'm not considering?

Try telling that to all the reporters that gather outside your house after something happens in your neighborhood that attracts their attention...

Re:Erm... (4, Insightful)

severoon (536737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310944)

Yea, you're right. Even without Google Street View I don't like the idea of someone 3000 miles away being able to just hop on a plane and be looking at my house in a couple of hours. Screw that, ban people from looking at my stuff if they're not from around here.

But...oh wait. That's stupid.

Public view is public view. It means anyone, on any given day, can see it. 1 person or 1000 people, what's the difference? Facades are meant to be seen by other people...they're designed for it. I don't have a problem with Google making the deision to be courteous to a few people here and there that don't want their home on there, but if too many people started making that request I hope and expect that they would say, you know, now it's starting to hurt the reason for having it in the first place, so sorry, we're doing away with that and now everything will be visible.

This isn't about Google's right to collect and show information, either. It's about my right to see it. If I can go there and see it, then I can have a friend with a smartphone show it to me live (iPhone Facetime, for instance) or take a photo and show it to me. If my friend can do it, why can't Google?

I might just as well say I don't want people to see my face when I go out in public either, but I'm not willing to wear a burqa, so you'll just have to look away to respect my nonexistent right to privacy. It's silliness. Something is either allowed or it's not. This is.

Re:Erm... (5, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310184)

You can still take pictures of everything in public view, and so can Google. And Google is being nice and taking down their own photos if you ask them to. Maybe they got the photo when your son had his car up on blocks. Maybe they happened to photograph you just as you were doing something embarrassing. Maybe you're being stalked, and don't want someone to recognize your car in the driveway. Maybe you're just paranoid.

Either way, Google is being nice by taking down photographs upon request. This is not a legal requirement, or censorship, or anything like that. Raging against people who ask to have buildings excluded from a commercial map application seems... misplaced somehow.

Re:Erm... (4, Insightful)

trentblase (717954) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310256)

This is exactly my thought. As far as I know, nobody is saying you CAN'T post photos of these homes. Google is just being nice and recognizing that some people may not like it. And the homeowners are reasonably taking Google up on the offer to remove photos. This guy is being a dick to those homeowners for the sake of what... documentary completeness?

Re:Erm... (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310644)

You familiar with your credit report? Do you know why it's not swapped around willy nilly among enterprising entrepreneurs? And why it doesn't store every single transaction you ever have made? It's not because of some really hard to get over problem or an immutable law of the universe. It's because society got together and thought that maybe having that kind of "permanent" record isn't a good thing. What makes you think that it's not probable that we'll come together and slap down Google, Microsoft, and pretty much any other "privacy for me, but not for thee" asshat that comes along? Put in place rules that say things like "you may not store logs longer than seven years" and "you may not create an anonymously accessible collection of photographs of private residences." There is a difference between someone standing on the street and looking at your house and someone clicking on a mouse in the privacy of their home and getting the same view. And even someone taking a picture that happens to have your home in the background and someone who made a specific point of taking pictures of everyone's home (except Eric Schmidt's home for some reason.)

Re:Erm... (2, Informative)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310894)

Well you know, if you followed a bit the launch of Street View in Germany, Google is not just "being nice" - it was forced by the governement to adopt this policy before launching its Street View service in this country, because of privacy concerns. More than 200 000 of such requests have already been sent. I'm not German, so I can't evaluate if these requests have a strong legal basis or not. But it seems clear that both the government and and a large part of the public opinion in Germany seem against unrestricted Street View, and as another slashdotter pointed out, the law can always be changed to be explicitly more restrictive if needed.

Re:Erm... (3, Informative)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33311002)

This is exactly my thought. As far as I know, nobody is saying you CAN'T post photos of these homes.

No, not yet. However, the government is deliberating passing a law that does. This protest is presumably part of the current public debate, a protest against making even more laws regulating what you can and can not do in public.

Re:Erm... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310406)

Raging against people who ask to have buildings excluded from a commercial map application seems... misplaced somehow.

This is because you don't know the political context. Anti-Google rhetoric, especially concerning Street View, is commonplace right now in Germany, first and foremost by politicians of ruling and opposition parties, fueled by the publishers who don't like Google because they think Google News steals readers and ad revenue.

The issue is perceived as defining the border between those who appreciate the Internet making theoretical rights practical, like the right to freedom of speech and the right to take photos in public, and those that consider the Internet a threat and would probably like it to go away.

They are being nice so they don't get forced (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310534)

Either way, Google is being nice by taking down photographs upon request. This is not a legal requirement, or censorship, or anything like that.

Not yet.

Clearly a lot of people felt strongly enough that this sort of activity constituted some sort of invasion of privacy to make the effort to ask Google to take the photos down. Clearly Google felt there was enough of a risk (legal, PR or otherwise) in not doing so that they instituted a policy to comply with these requests, and they have introduced various other policies for related reasons.

If people like this Jens guy won't voluntarily respect that and want to deliberately upset all those other people just because they can legally do so today, then the law can always be changed tomorrow to fix that problem. This is the basic flaw in the whole "You have no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place" argument: it based on law rather than on ethics, and ignores the fact that laws are supposed to change as the world does, including keeping up with the implications of new technologies and how people feel about them.

Re:They are being nice so they don't get forced (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310758)

If people like this Jens guy won't voluntarily respect that and want to deliberately upset all those other people just because they can legally do so today, then the law can always be changed tomorrow to fix that problem.

And how do you propose fixing that "problem?"
Only allowing the police to videotape & photograph in public?
Extending the DMCA to include otherwise legal pictures of property visible to the public?

This is the basic flaw in the whole "You have no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place" argument: it based on law rather than on ethics

What the hell kind of argument is that?
How is it unethical to engage in Constitutionally protected rights?
Unpopular speech is exactly what the First Amendment is there to protect.

Re:They are being nice so they don't get forced (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310916)

No amendmenss you mentioned apply to Germany though. Google took the photos from their cars about 2.8m high. This isnt allowed in Germany if you are a photographer on the street. You can only take photos without the help of ladders or similar equipment. People who have plants and fences around their properties to protect their privacy from the ladderless public now find themself exposed on Google SV.

Re:Erm... (2, Informative)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310700)

You can still take pictures of everything in public view, and so can Google.

You're not up to speed. There is currently a public debate about whether or not there should be a law prohibiting Google from doing so. Several members of the government are involved in the debate, so it's not just hot air. The vice prime minister has come out on the "against pictures" side, though I don't recall if he's supporting an explicit law or not, as he's a libertarian and that would be strange, but then again in the realm of politics truth is stranger than fiction.

Re:Erm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310830)

No, google isn't 'nice'. Google is subject to a chilling effect, they offer to voluntarily lose a right to dissuade the government from taking it. Which they threatened to do very often in the past few days because of paranoia, a fundamental misunderstanding of the service and because they need a scarecrow.

Re:Erm... (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310514)

So consequently there is a right involved, whether or not he's an asshole, he does have a point.

That being the case, I still submit to you that he could choose to demonstrate his rights or make any number of other more important points without being an asshole.

I support his right to be an asshole, and I support my right to call him an asshole for doing it. I also support the right of other people to non-violently produce consequences for his being an asshole if they believe he's an asshole; for example, not hiring him for work for which he's otherwise qualified.

All these things work out in their way in a free society. Yay, civilization.

Re:Erm... (1)

xpurple (1227) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310752)

How does that work for me? I live on a private drive (which is marked private) that is rather long. Google has pictures of my place showing that they ignored my privacy.

Re:Erm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310760)

But can you legally publish those photos without permission of the homeowner? I know that in most countries you can't legally publish a photo of a person without permssion.

Either way, this guy is just being an ass...just becaus he can don't mean he should. Besides, why would Google re-include photos of homes they have already removed? And if they did, why couldn't the homeowner ask to have the photo removed again?

Re:Erm... (1)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310808)

Privacy never extended beyond the walls of your house. When my dad was on the PTA back in the 50's two teachers were fired because one (a man) was seen to leave his car parked overnight at the woman teacher's house. Yeah, it wasn't right, but it also sure as hell wasn't private.

Everyone really needs to take ownership of their publicity. You can't ignore it or you'll be in the same queue with the guy complaining about that first Google hit on his name that's a drunk & disorderly arrest back in '86.

There are going to be photos of your property on the internet no mater what you do. That leaves you with one option: Provide the most flattering, accurate high resolution images possible. Be the ultimate resource of you that there is. Otherwise other people (like this douchey German guy) will do it for you.

Re:Erm... (1, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310088)

Um, so you have the right to not have the exterior of your building viewed by anyone? I don't honestly see how that is any sort of right. Explain to me this "right" not to have pictures taken of your building? If Google came on your private land to take pictures, that is a problem, but you have no expectation and no right to privacy with the outside of your building. Don't like it? Build a fence or something.

Re:Erm... (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310192)

Build a fence or something.

But they could still photography my fence!!

Re:Erm... (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310198)

Or they could photograph their privacy hedges and send them to me. Filling an image catalog of thousands of species of mature plants by myself is difficult enough. I can use all the help I can get.

Re:Erm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310202)

make it be a mirrored fence.

Re:Erm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310368)

I don't think its about whether or not you have a "right" - noone has the "right" to view someone's house on Google Street view, as such, Google aren't infringing on anyone's "rights" either way they go - they are just being "nice" and removing photos people have asked be removed. Others have every "right" to go photo & publish again.

Re:Erm... (4, Insightful)

iktos (166530) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310460)

Fences is sort of what this is about, I think; Google photographs from a camera which is higher up than the conventional "public view".

Re:Erm... (2, Funny)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310626)

Stiltwalkers of the world disagree.

Re:Erm... (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310672)

Build a fence or something.

Go straighten out the local zoning ordinance that prevents me from building a fourteen foot wall all around the perimeter of my property and that might be a vaguely compelling argument. Until then perhaps you should maybe do a tiny bit of soul searching and see if you can stop arguing in bad faith, then you could spend a second to consider the difference between street view and your house being viewed from the street.

Re:Erm... (2, Insightful)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310136)

Sometimes you have to be an asshole to stand up for yourself. For example, if someone politely makes an unreasonable request you should still say no.

Re:Erm... (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310484)

Isn't the decision to remove some photos a private agreement between Google and the people who ask for their photos to be removed? How is a third party, whether acting like an asshole or not, standing up for his own rights by interfering in that private agreement?

Re:Erm... (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310624)

Isn't the decision to remove some photos a private agreement between Google and the people who ask for their photos to be removed?

Yup, and as such a matter concerning only Google and said person.

How is a third party, whether acting like an asshole or not, standing up for his own rights by interfering in that private agreement?

He's not interfering in that agreement as he's not bound by it, being neither a Google employee nor the party that requested the takedown in the first place.

Re:Erm... (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310632)

Because five years from now when someone sues that asshole for posting such photos, he doesn't want them to be able to argue that this sort of censorship is common practice. "Everyone does it that way" is a compelling argument in some courts.

Re:Erm... (1, Troll)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310772)

It's standing up for my rights because I prefer my maps to be uncensored and complete.

Re:Erm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310754)

Except when the asshole is the one in the wrong.

He has every right to take photographs but he's spiteful by photographing people who do not want to be anonymously public.

We need to make it difficult for him to get a job.

Re:Erm... (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310166)

and this asshole (Jens Best) wants to say "FUCK YOU, I'm going to go against you because I can,

It's a two way street. (pun? sorry.)

Living in glass houses, stones, all that stuff.

Re:Erm... (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310676)

Everyone paying attention to Jens Best is Jen Best's goal. Duh.

Privacy advocates vs Liberty advocates (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310388)

I'm getting popcorn.

This level of cognitive dissonance in the libertarians is going to be amusing.

After all who can say no to the photographers right to take pictures in a public place, but who can say no to someone's right to keep the front gardens off of a publicly accessible mapping system.

(to the rest of us, we know this guys just being an arsehole)

Re:Privacy advocates vs Liberty advocates (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310550)

After all who can say no to the photographers right to take pictures in a public place, but who can say no to someone's right to keep the front gardens off of a publicly accessible mapping system.

This is not even particularly difficult. Yes, the photographer can take pictures in public places. No, you can't keep your publicly-viewable gardens from being photographed. That is the legal answer, and (in a happy coincidence) the ethically correct position.

Re:Privacy advocates vs Liberty advocates (1)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 4 years ago | (#33311006)

but who can say no to someone's right to keep the front gardens off of a publicly accessible mapping system.

You have that right. The means you use to do that is called a "fence".

Of course, Germany restricts tall fences in many places because they are considered ugly.

(to the rest of us, we know this guys just being an arsehole)

If standing up for democracy and freedom of speech makes someone an "arsehole", we need more people like that.

Re:Erm... (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310694)

No, it's more like some assholes asked for a public space to be privatized for their own benefit, but they didn't have the decent courtesy to ask everyone who owned that space, they only asked one person/one corporation -- the one who was taking the pictures.

Re:Erm... (0, Flamebait)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310934)

This doesn't seem to be a "The man is restricting our rights", more of a "people are nicely asking for some attempt at privacy", and this asshole (Jens Best) wants to say "FUCK YOU, I'm going to go against you because I can, even though you were nice enough to ask otherwise"

So when I politely ask you to stop selfishly keeping your entire paycheck, and instead give it to me... You are the asshole when you say no?

I mean you are just going against my wishes because you can, even though I was nice enough to ask otherwise.

English version (3, Informative)

cappp (1822388) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310042)

For those of us who don't read German fluently click here [googleusercontent.com]

It would be ironic if (4, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310078)

The manually taken photos were of higher quality, and more detail than the Google streetview ones. Then the request to remove from streetview........ could result in more detailed imagery of the area being posted to a place where more people will notice it

(Since streetview is so large, and has so many images.... a picture of an obscure place would probably not be noticed by many people, let alone get any attention or concern)

Re:It would be ironic if (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310508)

The Streisand effect.

Re:It would be ironic if (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310862)

How do you say "The Streisand Effect" in German?

Re:It would be ironic if (0, Troll)

anilg (961244) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310918)

Streiiständt üffect

Rights fight (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310118)

Microsoft did a while ago a google street view like app, combining photos from end users from that location. The end result is the same for the ones concerned about privacy, but the source is different. This people want to do something similar, regarding what got censored in street view. Where you draw the line between the right of privacy and the right of using a (geotagging) camera to take out your own photos and publish them? Should geotagging cameras be banned or required to not give precise locations? And if you add to the mix foursquare and facebook places things gets worse.

Such violence... (0, Offtopic)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310140)

The "Google Opt Out Village" was disturbing enough.

This Google mafia stuff is really getting quite frightening.

Just because someone doesn't want the building on street view is no reason to shoot it. What's next, hand grenades against people complaining about Google's privacy practices?

I suppose let the buyer beware... once you ask Google to remove your place from streetview, make sure to wear a bullet proof vest at all times.

Re:Such violence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310276)

"What's next, hand grenades against people complaining about Google's privacy practices?"

Yeah. Because we (i.e. the Google Mafia) all know throwing hand grenades in a public place is perfectly legal in person, and anti-corporate buttwipes like you only complain about it when Google does it from their Googlemobiles.

Re:Such violence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310350)

Umm... it's me still.

Just realized you were punning on "shoot".

Self-*wooooooooosh*, *facepalm*, etc.

(In my defence, I just got off work, and I work with people who do use the level of illogic I thought you were displaying, routinely. ...not that that's an excuse for being a humorless douche on the internet, of course.)

Never tried to shoot at the Pentagon, apparently (4, Informative)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310188)

I can remember getting off the train at the Pentagon. I wanted to go upriver on foot to photograph the skyline of DC at night from across the river (don't ask me why -- ugly city). It didn't take too minutes before a Hummer came rolling out and a guy in a gun turret (gun pointed at me) told me to go away and not take any photos.

Like it or not, some really stupid rules -- and even just really stupid etiquette -- governs what you can and cannot photograph.

Re:Never tried to shoot at the Pentagon, apparentl (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310248)

Yes, but how far did you push back when you were challenged?

It's really pretty clear that a photographer has certain rights to shoot photos anyplace in public in the U.S.A. Government has often tried to intimidate photographers, under the guise that "national security" demands they cease, or alternately, lower-level security protests under false claims that some "policy" was violated.

The Amtrak photography incident comes to mind: http://carlosmiller.com/2008/12/27/amtrak-police-arrest-photographer-participating-in-amtrak-photo-contest/ [carlosmiller.com]

A good guide to your REAL photographer's rights can be found here: http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm [krages.com]

Having a gun pointed at you is a pretty strong intimidation tactic, yet if you're confident you're in the right, you can still stick up for your rights in that situation. Some soldier driving out to meet you in a Hummer is probably NOT prepared to fire a weapon at a civilian photographer. WAY too many consequences for an action that extreme. So you *could* have let them arrest you and take your camera, rather than complying ... and you'd have a really GOOD chance of coming out the victor.

But let's face it.... that skyline photo probably wasn't something you wanted badly enough to fight for it.

Re:Never tried to shoot at the Pentagon, apparentl (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310854)

Having a gun pointed at you is a pretty strong intimidation tactic [...] Some soldier driving out to meet you in a Hummer is probably NOT prepared to fire a weapon at a civilian photographer.

You'd bet your life on too many assumptions. You have no idea what are the rules of engagement. You have no idea what is there that they don't want you to take pictures of. You don't know if the soldier's trigger finger is itchy. And you don't know how the soldier perceives you - as a civilian photographer or as a terrorist who is about to blow up. Case in point - recent shooting of Eric Scott. Police was misinformed about the situation and came ready to kill, which they did.

Re:Never tried to shoot at the Pentagon, apparentl (1)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310992)

That analogy doesn't work. Eric Scott had a gun. Doing anything with a gun while police are around is dangerous. A camera is not a gun. It doesn't threaten the life of police, and it probably won't get you killed, no matter what.

Re:Never tried to shoot at the Pentagon, apparentl (3, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | more than 4 years ago | (#33311034)

A camera is not a gun. It doesn't threaten the life of police, and it probably won't get you killed, no matter what.

That "probably" is not good enough [timesonline.co.uk] - especially when dealing with soldiers. It only takes a misunderstanding. If a gun is pointed at you then a mechanical malfunction also can kill you. (That's why we are told to never point a gun at anything but intended targets, among other rules.)

Re:Never tried to shoot at the Pentagon, apparentl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310786)

And I bet they'd just love if it photographers started sending unmanned drones zipping around the pentagon and major cities to take their photos for them - just like the military does when it wants something under surveillance (not always, but sometimes). Sure, it's impractical now - but that's where StreetView was a couple of years ago. We'll probably have affordable automated surveillance drones available to the general public in the next decade (I'd bet they could be affordably built by a tinker right now, but not affordably replaced as often as they'd need to be right now given the tendency of misguided authorities to confiscate/detonate anything they don't expect to see).

Hey, guess what? That's the exact same outcome as in this case: someone who wants an unreasonable level of privacy at the expense of society generally, says "don't you dare photograph this, photographer who I can identify!" (Google) and so then photographers that they can't identify start taking photos what they didn't want photographed, specifically because they said "don't" and tried to prevent people who had every right to see it, from seeing it.

The problem has always existed. You didn't care before. Now that you notice, you care; only because you notice, not because you should. But guess what? If you didn't make a big deal, you'd be a statistic. But because you want to be treated specially at the cost of society generally, you are treated with contempt by society.

Really, why should you get special treatment? And when you ask for it, why shouldn't you expect to be met with contempt by at least some of the rest of society (like the specific segment you affect the worst)?

Re:Never tried to shoot at the Pentagon, apparentl (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310996)

pics or it didn't happen

Is a Street View private? (2, Interesting)

rxan (1424721) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310322)

Our right to take panoramic snapshots, for instance, or to take photographs in public spaces, both base laws which determine that one may photograph those things that are visible from public streets and places.

Is a photo of your lawn, outside of home, and garden a private affair? When people drive by your home do you chase them away like a barking dog? No (reply if you do). Then why should you shoo away the Google car?

OK. But does that give you the right to aggregate those photos, organize them by location, creating a photo map of the entire planet?

On the one hand: Location based services are increasingly being incorporated into photographic devices. It's only a matter of time before the planet is completely photo-mapped with location information. Attempts to prevent this are only by scaremongers who have an idealistic view of privacy.

On the other hand: People have a right to privacy and it's unreasonable for one corporation to destroy it.

Re:Is a Street View private? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310600)

Attempts to prevent this are only by scaremongers who have an idealistic view of privacy.

I'd wish you stop calling names, please? The reason person owning the place to refuse letting others use the image of it (in any way) is irrelevant... what is relevant is: does he have a right to do it?

Re:Is a Street View private? (2)

xnpu (963139) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310708)

This is why your home has walls and a roof. You can have your privacy inside. Need a bigger private space? buy a bigger property. Google isn't destroying anything. You already had 100+ neighbors who could see your yard. Now you have a few virtual neighbors extra. That's it. You won't attract a lot of attention on street view unless you do something really interesting, in which case one of your 100 "real" neighbors would've already put some snapshots online a long time ago.

Run of-the-mill attention whore (1, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310326)

That is what this guy basically is. There is a good change he will run foul of the law in addition

It isn't about legality... (4, Insightful)

bm_luethke (253362) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310410)

...it is about not being a douche bag.

Really, it isn't illegal and that isn't why Google removes them. He isn't going to get arrested so his willingness to have that done is irrelevant. What he is doing is being a a major asshole and justifying being proud of it under some "information wants to be free" meme.

My address, phone number, and a great deal of other information is certainly public knowledge - one can look it up on the internet (and I even use an abbreviated version of my real name so it isn't even that hard), yet I still wouldn't want all that attached to every post I made. There is a great deal of public information that we *all* would rather not telegraph in that well a concise and easy simple way to view. I'm willing to be this guy has a number of things about his life he considers private, is legally not, and would be royally pissed if people made a point of putting it on the internet. If someone walking down the raod asked politely to not be photographed few would call him a hero of anything if he then not only followed them taking all the photos he could but made sure that everyone singled them out to show what they would rather have private - no different here. I don't care about my picture being on Google Street View (well, other than the car was taking pictures when a police man was telling me to move my truck is parked in the road because someone up the street complained - we are on a dead end road. It's amusing as you can clearly tell I'm out on my front porch, the police car in the street, and the man in Blue talking to me - but then I find the thing more amusing than anything especially since I can pinpoint the exact time the car want by) and can't really see why anyone would care - but if they did it is called being a nice person to remove it.

If he wants to push a real cause go take photographs of military installations or secure places like nuclear power plants. But then there you are actually likely to have real consequences instead of just being a douche bag and making people mad. Plus it is places that are actually illegal to photograph, used to be legal to do so, and there is a great deal of debate on what should and should not be allowed. Peoples houses in mapping software? Not so much - as is he is simply trying to make himself feel better by doing something minor/worthless and rationalizing that it is somehow, in someway, actually edge and dangerous. Yea, go stick it to the man! Just wait until these people see their houses photographed on the Internet, that'll show !

Had to read the subject twice. (2, Funny)

mgichoga (901761) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310424)

Phew! I had to read the subject twice. For a while there I thought Germans had started assassinating buildings.

Eat shit and die you fucking nutter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310444)

I'm an amateur photographer and as far as I'm concerned this clown is making that harder. My personal ethics is I wouldn't want to publish photos that are unflattering or invade someone's privacy. On another level if people feel their ability to avoid being photographed and sense of privacy is being trampled on that just puts more pressure on lawmakers to raise the hurdles. In the worst cases it means photographers getting a kicking and having their cameras smashed just for carrying a camera.

Jens is just like that Wikileaks guy and taking too narrow a view of law and the real world. Usenet has almost entirely shut down so the trolls are looking to raise their game. This and other projects like this are just trolling. I don't care what the fancy arguments are. I don't care about your fucking "right" to poke your nose into whatever you want when you want. There's a limit and I wish idiots like this would stop getting publicity. This arguments are not new and these people are not special so why the hell are we even having this conversation?

Eat shit and die you fucking nutter.

Re:Eat shit and die you fucking nutter (2, Insightful)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310730)

So how do you draw the line between what's acceptable viewing/photography, and what's not. To me, a reasonable expectation of privacy would be in within an optically obscure enclosure. Say in your home, with curtains drawn, or window blinds closed. If someone had a radar imager, I'd be quite pissed: it's not reasonable to expect people to live in Faraday cages. But there's nothing reasonable in obsessing about street view pictures -- how do those invade my, or anyone else's, privacy? I just don't get it. Someone has raised an argument that since street view van cameras are higher up, they can look over the fences and make it easier to scout out potential targets for thieves. I guess it's time I took the time to write down the damn serial numbers from any expensive equipment I own. Other than that, the insurance covers me against theft. I should take a few pics of each room, to make it easier to prove ownership of certain things -- as an alternate to having a part-time job of billkeeping. All that stuff will probably end on google's servers ;)

German attention whore Jens Best was found dead. (0, Flamebait)

Phizzle (1109923) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310450)

Anonymous source close to the investigation says that Jens Best had choked on a wide angle lens that was shoved down his throat, his netbook was found firmly embedded in his rectum. There was much rejoicing.

Reasons for removal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310716)

Rights and so on aside, I had my house removed from Google Streetview because I owned a easily identifiable Rx7. This was an issue as the Rotary comunity is small in the city I live and my girlfriend at the time had a stalker.

He had some idea of where we lived, he knew what my car looked like, so I thought it was prudent to make it harder for him to find us. Obviously he could have found us if he tried hard enough, making it a simple process was something I was trying to avoid.

Sure, he could have driven up and down streets until he saw it, for practical reasons I knew he was unlikely to do so and also would have demonstrated to law enforcement he was an issue.

Should I be forced to show the front of my house? I don't think so. To me it is a question of ease of information getting out. I don't like the idea of all my information being out there requiring little effort to get. If you have a reason for the information, you can get it, otherwise why do you need it?

I wish this article had a pole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33310720)

Personally, I think he shouldn't do it. Aggravating/stressing out people unnecessarily isn't nice regardless of whether their fears are irrational or not (except when treating a phobia).

I support a citizen's right to shoot. (3, Funny)

anti-human 1 (911677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310726)

I support a citizen's right to shoot. (I live in the U.S., not that that's relevant)

Germans are confused on privacy (1)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 4 years ago | (#33310972)

German politicians seem to think that the best thing to do is to give each person total control over data about them... total control, except, of course where the German state is concerned. The German state collects and shares data about its citizens in a way that would be unacceptable in most other democratic nations. Germany is rapidly heading towards totalitarianism again.

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