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Your House Is About To Be Photographed

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the little-brother dept.

Privacy 491

An anonymous reader writes "Photographers from a Canadian company are going house to house, shooting pictures of every house in America, in hopes of building a giant database that can be sold to banks, insurance companies, and appraisal firms. While this activity is legal (as long as the photographers don't trespass on private property to get their shots), there are obviously concerns about security and privacy. Considering that an individual can be detained and questioned by the FBI for photographing a bridge in this country, why should this Canadian company get a free pass? Tinfoil hat aside, something seems very, very fishy here." From the Arizona Star article about the photographing of Tucson: "'The [handout given to people who complain] made it sound like they're doing it for law enforcement, when in reality they're doing it for sales and marketing,' said [a City Council aide], who received several calls about the company."

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That reminds me (5, Funny)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17908974)

I have to put up my 10 meter wide 'FUCK YOU' banner.

Re:That reminds me (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909034)

I have to put up my 10 meter wide 'FUCK YOU' banner.
not for nothing, how about putting up a banner with original text and a copyright notice? Then they can't distribute without permission... and you could set your price for distribution rights.

Re:That reminds me (1)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909092)

Oh dear god, that's BRILLIANT.

Re:That reminds me (1)

Slightly Askew (638918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909148)

Why doesn't the architecture of my house fall under this rule? I know that professional photographers have to be careful when taking photos of a city because certain building owners will not allow photos of their business. Wouldn't the same rule apply? Are they going to get signed releases from everyone?

Re:That reminds me (4, Informative)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909330)

Because there is a photographers exception to the portion of copyright that covers architecture. Photos taken from a public place of a building that is in public view don't require any kind of permission from the building's owner to be distributed or used.

Re:That reminds me (2, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909352)

That was actually shot down a while ago...Basically, if you can see it from public property, you can't claim ownership of all pictorial representations.

In addition to property-release issues, you also need to think about copyright concerns vis-à-vis buildings if they were built after December 1, 1990. Before that, buildings did not have copyright protection and were thus, by definition, in the public domain. Shoot away.

In general, buildings erected after December 1, 1990 do not pose a big problem either. There is a "photographer's exception" to a building's copyright owner's rights that permits the photography of buildings. This gives a wide leeway to the definition of "building"; everything from gazebos to office towers are included. As long as the building is in a public place, or visible -- and photographable -- from a public place, there is no infringement of the building's copyright owner's rights. This rule includes private as well as public buildings.
--American Society of Media Photography [asmp.org]

Re:That reminds me (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909180)

But since the text is the part that's copyrighted, what's to say that they just don't mask that part of it out of the picture? I'd say that you'd need to find a way to wallpaper your whole house with it in some fashion.

Re:That reminds me (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909408)

If you put it on a banner close to the center of the front facade, it will be hard to remove in the photograph. If they blur it or cut it out, "Hey, what's up with this spot in the middle of the picture?" If they paste their own text over it, "Hey, why did you put the text right over the front of the house?"

Of course, one will also look like a dork for having such a banner on one's house, but hey -- who defines himself based on his house, anyway? Oh, wait...

(On a side note, I just want to mention that a co-worker saw a picture she took for work, on ebay being sold as a poster. "Photographer: unknown." She's sinced talked to the legal department. So don't be so sure the owner won't find out.)

Re:That reminds me (2, Funny)

MattPat (852615) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909184)

how about putting up a banner with original text and a copyright notice?

Or better yet, why not just blow up a page from XML for Dummies? Same legal protection, without the need for any thought. ;) And plus, you don't need to deal with the legal fees, the publishing company does!

Won't work (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909348)

The publishing company will not spend the legal fees for the one page. Now if everyone used a different page, you can view enough houses to read the entire book.

Re:Won't work (1)

mrzaph0d (25646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909410)

hmm.. enough homeowners in a neighborhood working together could put up a small chapter!

Re:That reminds me (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909376)

What about a light display that is always on?

The Eiffel Tower has a copyrighted light display on it, and commercial uses of night photographs are prohibited because of this.

So, just throw up a few Christmas light bulbs in a small display covering nearly all the house (ie. a sparse display), and you should also have an actionable claim if they photograph it for their use.

Re:That reminds me (5, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909130)

Mine will say, "Take off, eh, hoser!"

Re:That reminds me (1)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909256)

lol

that would have to be aboot the most funny thing I have read eh

Re:That reminds me (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909170)

Be sure you make a copy for your roof for Google Earth.

Re:That reminds me (5, Funny)

What the Frag (951841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909236)

No, you should print on the banner:

"Your 30 day free trial of Photoshop has expired.
Please purchase the full version to remove this sign"

or

"Thank you for using a pirated version of Photoshop!"

Re:That reminds me (2, Funny)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909294)

I wonder if I could make it look like a watermark!

Re:That reminds me (2, Funny)

MyOtherUIDis3digits (926429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909386)

I was thinking that I hope I see them coming, so they can get a picture of the "full moon".

Of course they won't get arrested (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17908984)

They are specifically excluding pictures of bridges.

Any trolls whom reside under a bridge will be excluded from the resultant marketing offers.

Re:Of course they won't get arrested (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909192)

That was good of you to use "whom" instead of "who". Unfortunately this wasn't the right time...

+7 Projectile Coffee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909442)

That was good of you to use "whom" instead of "who". Unfortunately this wasn't the right time...

That's the funniest thing that I have read here in weeks. It's bad enough when people use "who" instead of "whom" in the objective case, but when I see "whom" instead of "who" in the subjective case, I absolutely cringe.

How very appropriate... (1)

Kemanorel (127835) | more than 7 years ago | (#17908986)

How very appropriate...

"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along"

Yes, offtopic, but struck me as very funny. Guess you had to be there. ;-)

Re:How very appropriate... (2, Informative)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909100)

And very appropriate. Oh my gosh, someone's going to take a picture of my house. Now what?!

If you've ever bought a house, you know that for months (or longer) thereafter, people come by and snap pictures of your house. Why? Because appraisers take pictures of your house as "comparable" for the appraisal of some other house in the area. It's completely legal and nothing new. When I got my appraisal, it too included pictures of other recently sold houses in the neighborhood. Once I was working in my garage and an appraisal guy came up and actually asked if he could take a picture. I said, sure, and would he like me to close the garage door so he could get a better picture. He thanked me and that was that.

Seriously, this is the height of "So what!?!?!?"

I better mow then (2, Funny)

John.P.Jones (601028) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909002)

No more putting off mowing the lawn.

paranoid (4, Insightful)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909018)

What seems "very, very fishy?"

From my understanding, this has always been legal. Where we live, the size, configuration, value and tax record of your house is public information. So what would people do with this information that is so sinister?

Re:paranoid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909306)

What seems "very, very fishy?"

The fact that they're apparently strongly implying (oh no, they're not lying, why, impersonating a police officer would be highly illegal, and companies never do anything illegal) that they are law enforcement? Or the fact that the government refuses to give its citizens the same protection it gives its bridges?

Re:paranoid (1)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909492)

Well, what if you're taking a picture of your house and the neighbor's house is in the background? It sounds like you're in favor of the government telling us what we can take pictures of.

Re:paranoid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909436)

Find weaknesses and blow it up. You didn't understand the parallel with bridge pictures?

impossible (1)

ubernode (211798) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909026)

I dont see how each and every home will be photographed since some communities are closed to the public. What is the point if the data is not complete?

Re:impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909126)

Insurance Company: "We noticed a picture of your home isn't in our database..."
You: "Yeah, I'm in a gated community, so I'm not surprised."
Insurance Company: "We require a photo before we can insure your home. When would you like us to send a photographer?"
You: "I don't want my home photographed. Forget the insurance."
Insurance Company: "You want to forget the mortgage that your bank told us about as well?"
You: "Damn... I can't have one without the other. Fine. 9 am Sunday. I'll let the gateman know."

Done and done.

Re:impossible (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909220)

Never mind those of us that live in rural areas. Google maps is the only online mapping service that is even near close to being correct in our neighborhood, and up until a few months ago they were extremely inaccurate.

I seriously doubt they will be driving 30 minutes on an unpaved road to come photograph my home, and the handful of other homes where I live.

Re:impossible (2, Interesting)

Daemonstar (84116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909326)

And what about bad neighborhoods and gang areas? Are they really going to go walking around there with cameras? If they're driving around even, that'll get noticed, too. I'm not sure people who run the known drug houses will be very welcoming of cameras or strange vehicles combing their territories.

To The Photographers: +1, Informative (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909048)


Don't miss photographing the spider-hole of this War Monger [whitehouse.org] .

I'm sure his digs are on many tourists sights to see in D.C.

Thanks for your support,
Kilgore Trout.

P.S.: Buck Fush !!

Hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909050)

I think I can see my house!

Damned Foreigners (4, Funny)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909054)

why should this Canadian company get a free pass?
I am outraged! Not only do I not want Canadians taking pictures of my house, I don't even want them seeing it! I say blindfold 'em at the borders....or better yet, gouge out their eyes! Can't just have people wandering around and looking at buildings that are in full view of a public road, it'll be anarchy!

Re:Damned Foreigners (4, Funny)

Scutter (18425) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909360)

I took the numbers off my house so they wouldn't be able to find it. I had to take the numbers off the neighbors' houses, too, so they couldn't just look for the house with no numbers.

haha (1)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909058)

There is no way they can get within sight of my house without trespassing on private property. And the view to satellites and planes is obscured by trees year round.

It's just a prelude... (5, Funny)

subl33t (739983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909060)

... to our forthcoming invasion. Do not be alarmed.

Actually we have invaded the US 47 times in the last 10 years, but nobody noticed.

Re:It's just a prelude... (4, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909208)

Actually we have invaded the US 47 times in the last 10 years, but nobody noticed.

Anyone could miss Canada, all tucked away down there.

Re:It's just a prelude... (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909448)

Actually we have invaded the US 47 times in the last 10 years, but nobody noticed.
We noticed, but chose to tolerate the presence of Celine Dion and Crash Test Dummies because we love your bacon so much.

Assuming they follow the rules (4, Interesting)

Slightly Askew (638918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909076)

Very little of my house is visible from public access. However, driving a hundred yards or so down my driveway will offer you a nice, clean picture. The first time I see photos of my house which I know had to have been taken from my private property, can I have their asses thrown in jail for trespassing?

Re:Assuming they follow the rules (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909372)

No. Your driveway is considered public access.

Perhaps if you have it fenced off, with the appropriate signage, you might make a case, but it wouldn't be much of one.

Unless your house is completely off the grid, there are public easements for the utility companies which could be exploited.

Re:Assuming they follow the rules (1)

xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909428)

can I have their asses thrown in jail for trespassing?

I don't see why not. It may be kinda hard to prove exactly who to throw in jail, though. I doubt these Canuks will be be taking pictures of themselves taking pics of your house. Then there's all the extradition hassle...

Re:Assuming they follow the rules (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909522)

Then there's all the extradition hassle...

"Eh, we're not aboot to extradite someone over thar just for trespassin'."

College Roomates and Conspiracy Theory (0)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909078)

This reminds me of a conspiracy theory my Roomate had going while I was in college. The gist of it is that the Canadians have a widespread effort to subvert government of the United States, and effectively take over the country.

Naturally, it was satirical, but now I'm wondering... what if there was something to it?

Re:College Roomates and Conspiracy Theory (1)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909500)

Go to the movie rental place near you and get a copy of Canadian Bacon [imdb.com] from 1995. It's a decent low-budget(11 million) film, if you have any familiarity with Canadians and Americans. Here's wikipedia's page [wikipedia.org] about it too.

We really ARE coming after you y'know... A quote from the film

The Canadians. They walk among us. William Shatner. Michael J. Fox. Monty Hall. Mike Meyers. Alex Trebek. All of them Canadians. All of them here.

Already been done (4, Interesting)

saddino (183491) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909088)

Ever hear of Zillow [zillow.com] , the real estate "estimator"? They already have detailed pictures of homes in many major U.S. cities, from four different angles (taken by plane, natch). These aerial shots, of course, blow sat images away when it comes to level of detail.

Re:Already been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909296)

Who is natch?

Zillow doesn't take pictures (2, Informative)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909470)

They use Google maps to do a mash-up. It's a very clever site.

Progress, it's not intelligently planned (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909094)

Every new advance in technology comes with new fears. I mean there have been peoples who thought that making an image of you was to steal your soul, so the camera was especially scary. Now we're worried that it will steal our privacy/security. All it does is eliminate obscurity, which as we all know, is no security. Frankly no one's home is very secure without monitoring, which itself is something of an invasion of privacy (for one thing it pretty much gives the cops the right to come on your property and even enter your home any time...) because let's face it, short of a castle it's pretty easy to enter a home. You don't need to open a door when a sledgehammer will get you through pretty much any wall. With a 10lb sledge with a 3+ foot handle, you can go through pretty much any siding including fake rock, wood planks, plywood siding, you name it.

Frankly I think that people who plant all their houses in rows made out of ticky-tacky have nothing to complain about. If you want privacy, move to where the privacy is. Put up a gate, fence everything you want to keep private, and put up no trespassing and no soliciting signs. But there is not now and has never been any expectation of privacy in any public place.

Re:Progress, it's not intelligently planned (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909214)

That is why I surround my home with dozens of dummy homes filled with broken electronics. Security through obfuscation!

BTW, I want my soul back from the Kodak company.

Uh... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909096)

Considering that an individual can be detained and questioned by the FBI for photographing a bridge in this country, why should this Canadian company get a free pass?

Ummm... because... they aren't photographing bridges?

Actually, they should be chased out of townsimply for being a bunch of bloody Canadians.

HA HA HAAAAAAAA! Canuck bastards!

I tease. :)

Google Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909098)

...has photographed all our houses from above already, right? So what's new here? That they're doing it from the ground?

good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909104)

I'd love to see those Canadians trying to get photos in Compton...

How is this useful in any way? (4, Insightful)

sinij (911942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909106)

I fail to see why pictures taken in legal way (I'm not talking about trespassing or even breaking-in to take interior pictures) is useful in any way? What bank or real estate agent would gain from picture taken from the street? More information is currently readily available - most people post detailed pictures of interior and exterior when they sell houses, this information only needs to be archived and categorized to get better result than this project can hope to archive.

Re:How is this useful in any way? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909390)

Because umm, people lie. Either way an outside picture can give you a rough estimate of the homes value. I wouldn't use it for buying or selling purposes. But something like a home equity loan might be done just based on a picture like this.

Re:How is this useful in any way? (1)

squarefish (561836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909416)

actually, my fiance and I use the service from our county assessor's website [cookcountyassessor.com] while we look for houses because it's often a more direct and closer shot than what you find on real estate sites, especially for newpaper ads. of course, this is nothing new.

Re:How is this useful in any way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909484)

A few thoughts:

-Most people suck at taking pictures, so if you want a certain quality, you should take them yourself. (Yeah, a real estate company should take quality pictures, but...)
-Many people are the original owners and so have never needed to take pictures.
-Many many people have not sold their houses since the creation of the Internet, so if pictures exist, they might not be readily available.

Who cares (1)

ReTay (164994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909114)

There is some good in having a 3/4 mile driveway :)
I just have to remember that when it snows...

Time for... (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909128)

...a modification of REFLECTION PORN!!! If there's a way of knowing when they will be photographing your house, you could stick an LCD monitor in your front window displaying a goatse.

DRM (1)

dlhm (739554) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909138)

I am going to Copyright my house and any images of it.. Just like the NFL does thier games, when these Canadians take a picture and sell it to someone I'm going to sue them for $10,000 a picture. I just need to make a little sign to put on the corner of my house that says (c).2007

You can tell my house... (1)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909144)

It's the one with the dogs humping in the yard...

I see you seeing me (1)

w33t (978574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909150)

There is good and bad in this. On the good hand I can see how this would be an invaluable historical resource. How awesome would it be if we had a pristine and exhaustive record of the location of all properties from ancient Rome, or even WWII?

On the bad hand one cannot help but wonder what kind of harmful uses this database could be used for.

As we are getting more and more data storage I am starting to wonder how much privacy we are going to have left in a couple decades...in a century? Well, I won't be too worried about things 100 years from now since I'll probably be very dead. But hopefully I'll have a prosthetic brain and will happily be worrying about.

This whole disappearance of privacy reminds me of the book, "The Light of Other Days", in which all privacy disappears with the introduction of a technology which allows you to view anybody at any time present or past. It makes me wonder if the disappearance of privacy would be so bad after all?

After all, the one place I wish there were less privacy is within the government.

Re:I see you seeing me (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909342)

"How awesome would it be if we had a pristine and exhaustive record of the location of all properties from ancient Rome, or even WWII?"

Wait until some poor homeowner in Rome finds out that there is a lien on their house because Maximus Gallus didn't pay his sewer bill in 155 AD.

"It makes me wonder if the disappearance of privacy would be so bad after all?"

Be careful what you wish for. Some people shouldn't be naked in the privacy of their own homes.

calm the fuck down (1)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909158)

why should this Canadian company get a free pass?
They're not getting a "free pass." They're getting the same treatment as anyone else who would like to photograph someone else's house.

For God's sake, there are enough rights-curtailing things going on if you want to worry about it. There's no need to take a non-issue like this and get so freaked out. I would be more worried if they told you that you can't take the picture.

More slashdot trolling (4, Interesting)

benzapp (464105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909162)

New York City did this in the 1920's, and still does it to this day. Several private firms also do this.

Anyone ever hear of propertyshark.com? [propertyshark.com] .

Yeah, pictures of every building in Manhattan, and much of prime Brooklyn. They also have the tax photos from the 1970's.

Re:More slashdot trolling (1)

djtack (545324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909480)

Where I live (midwest US) we already have this. The county tax assessor has a photo of every house on their public web site. It's really no big deal, and I've actually found it useful at times.

Here comes the Transparent Society... (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909178)

This is a tale of two cities. Cities of the near future, say ten or twenty years from now.

Barring something unforeseen, you are apt to live in one of these two places. Your only choice may be which.


--The Transparent Society [davidbrin.com]
Here come the future, barreling down from Canada in a three piece suit...

While there are concerns about safety (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909188)

Yeah, I feel unsafe already. The thought that someone might know what my house looks like sends chills down my spine. Can you get tin foil hats that fit houses?

What Privacy does this violate? (3, Insightful)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909190)

I'm a proponent of strong privacy rights, but if they're just photographing the view of your house from the street, I fail to see how they're doing anything invasive of one's privacy, they're simply cataloging trivially publicly available information. Anyone can drive down the street and see the house. Presumably, on any given day, on most of these streets, hundreds or thousands of people drive down the street and see the house anyway.

Using something like a high-powered zoom lens to try to shoot pictures inside the house through the window, or trespassing on the property to better see the house, or driving a cherry picker down the street to take hard-to-get views over privacy fences and such would be different. But I don't see how the regular pedestrian view from the street can be considered "private." Presumably anybody with your address could get the same view by going there anytime. And to look it up in this company's database, presumably they've already got your address or could easily retrieve it from other sources. They're just changing the ease of access to this information, they aren't making any "private" information that wasn't previously accessible available, they're just changing the costs of accessing publicly available information.

If you care about people not obtaining information they can get from glancing at your house from the street, then you need a privacy fence or something to conceal that information.

Privacy aside, this job sounds... (1)

Nathgar (995959) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909198)

scary. Would you want to be the person who gets selected to take photo's in the "bad part" of town. Though if they can use footage from COPS for some of the shots, that'd work out great. Then they can add the "As seen on TV" label to those homes.

Is the issue that photos of houses are being.... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909202)

.... taken? Or is the fact that it's a non-American company doing it the real issue?

It can and does happen, but isn't supposed to (5, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909204)

A couple years ago in Seattle we had a photographer accosted by police because he was photographing a railroad bridge - they told him he needed permits etc. from the city and from Homeland Security or the FBI. When someone actually bothered to check with both federal agencies, their replies basically amounted to "no, that's silly".

What it sounds like (to me anyway) is a number of local agencies get overly zealous at times. I suspect part of the problem is there hasn't been much, if any, guidance provided to local law enforcement from the feds. Another part of the problem is these people, from the feds on down, seem to be flying the security ship by the seat of their pants, and worrying about what's actually legal/illegal later - the old "Shoot 'em all, and let God sort 'em out" philosophy.

Weird... (1)

kodec (1011233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909222)

Three weeks ago a couple in a van pulled into my neighborhood and took a picture of my house. My girlfriend, who was on the porch, gave them a wtf hand gesture, to which they just smiled, waved and drove away.

Wonder if this is related?

Re:Weird... (1)

PilotDvr (940016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909452)

Probably not. My wife, a real estate broker, does price opinions for lending instituions and takes pictures of 10-15 houses every day. Most of the time they are 'loan portfolio' pictures for a group of mortgages about to be sold/purchased.

Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909224)

I've been photographed! [google.com] :(

boring job (4, Funny)

planckscale (579258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909226)

"Okay Joe, here we go, 1135 MegaComplex Way. Unit 134, Los Angeles, CA 90202."

"Number 134?"

"Yeah"

"It's just a door with a number?"

"Yeah like the last 133 units we've shot dumbass"

*Click*

"Okay got it"

New siding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909228)

Time to get some holographic siding so that my house doesn't look the same as the day before.

so? (2, Insightful)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909232)

A new Finnish real estate agent recently started with a new concept. They had photographed almost every building near the capital, and users could look at them on the net. If there was a building you liked, you could give your info so they contact you as soon as something is for sale there. All the buildings would show how many people wanted to be contacted for that building / street / part of town. It caused a fairly big uproar when it started, with people upset about their homes being photographed. Things settled down fairly quickly, and it actually ended up being a pretty handy service. Actually I wouldn't be surprised if the complaints where started by the competing companies...

They are too late. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909276)

I already have many pictures of my house.

Late to the game in most areas (1)

ChicagoBiker (702744) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909292)

In Cook County (Chicago, IL) the assessors office has already been taking pictures from the street of the front facade of every property in the county for at least the last 7 years. http://www.cookcountyassessor.com/ [cookcountyassessor.com]

Damn Canadians! (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909314)

With their beady eyes and flapping heads!

Canadians Do Know We Are Armed, Right? (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909316)

Not saying this is me, but, you hit the cul-de-sac I live on, in the country, out in the woods of Washington, and start taking pictures of the few homes here, and you could get a seat full of rock salt.

Hell, even the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses know not to come down the back roads in this neigborhood.

I pity the poor defenseless Canadians. Just a warning, one of our neighbors always has a lot of meat curing, but he never goes shopping or hunting. Odd.

Stay out of Pierce County, Washington. And most specifically, stay out of the Key Pennisula area.

Re:Canadians Do Know We Are Armed, Right? (5, Funny)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909458)

"I pity the poor defenseless Canadians." Oh, don't worry about us. We'll be hiring local photographers. Rest assured, those are fellow Americans you'll be shooting, as per usual.

The myth persists (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909332)

It is not illegal to take pictures of bridges and many other public places reguardless of what various law enforcement agencies say. The only laws on the books against taking pictures that will get you in actual trouble are military installations and nuclear power plants and peeping Tom type photos of private residents, unless you are some sort of pop star sunbathing nude in the back yard. As long as you are in a public place there is not a whole lot they can do to you, besides maybe some annoying or intimidating questioning, but no actually criminal penalties. Now businesses and some government facilities can have no photo policies, but they have no legal enforcement outside the boundaries of their little piece of property.

The same goes for taking photos in airports, minus the security stations and checkpoints or course, and buildings with trademark logos on them or buildings that have copyrighted designs. The later only extends to building other buildings with copyrighted designs and not the taking photos of them.

nothing to see here (1)

squarefish (561836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909334)

They've been doing this in a lot of areas for a long time. Here in the chicago area, the cook county assessor's office [cookcountyassessor.com] will show you the front view of almost any building if you know the address.
I'm sure this is nothing new, especially for highly populated areas. This company of couse could offer to provide updated photos, but the service itself has already been here.

I have a proxy house (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909338)

I built a facade exterior house outside my actual house with a tinfoil lining. The pretense house has a different address on its mailbox and I use MAT (mailbox address translation) to forward all mail to my real house. I keep all the windows and doors on the proxy house closed. This combined with a good cinder block firewall keeps me safe and from broadcasting my real address TO THE WORLD!

Happens all the time (1)

DnemoniX (31461) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909368)

I run the IT Department for a small County. I can tell you that this is nothing new or special. We are constantly being hit up by one company or another that wants access to our tax payer database and our property assessment records. These companies mine our data and resell "comparables" to real estate agencies, banks and property appraisers. They always ask for imaging if we have it as well. Here the assessors visit your property once every two years to evaluate your home for tax purposes. Every time on site they take several digital pictures of your property for the records. These images are then part of the public record and anyone can have access to them. This is extremely common place. How this is a privacy issue I have no clue. Mountain out of a mole hill etc...

Misleading pamphlet? (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909382)

The [handout given to people who complain] made it sound like they're doing it for law enforcement, when in reality they're doing it for sales and marketing,' said [a City Council aide], who received several calls about the company.

Their site mentions that emergency services would benefit from the service, which they are allowed to use for free. It mentions they would be shown the daytime/warm-clime (ie snow free) pics so they can plan responses to that particular location. I imagine it would be helpful for a firefighter to know there's a basement window you can't see because it's covered in snow, or for the police to know ahead of time the house is surrounded by a high fence, or that the living room has a good view of the street...

On the commercial side, I'm shopping for a house, and I'm tired of all the "taken 2 days ago while the yard is buried in snow" pics on real-estate sites. It would be nice to have a (relatively recent) summer-time image of houses I'm looking at.

Leave those poor Canadians alone (1)

tfaust (888625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909388)

They are just working for The Man, just like us. Doesn't matter if the dollar is U.S. or Canadian, some soul sucking corporation wants it. Borders don't matter to them, the world is their oyster. BTW, I for one welcome our new Canadian overlords!!!

This is not about a free pass (-1, Flamebait)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909392)

One can be construed as intelligence gathering, the other is purely commercial. As much as most liberals here don't want to admit it, only two religious and ethnic groups have shown a tendency toward terrorism against America so far, Arab and Pakistani Muslims. I hate to break it to you, but the police will profile such groups because if an officer sees someone who looks Arabic or Pakistani taking pictures that appear to be focused more on the structure of a bridge than the scenery, they will get suspicious. It is what police are there for. They are supposed to intervene when their hackles are raised by suspicious behavior.

Now, go ahead and moderate me down because I have beaten a sacred cow. The reality is that human behavior can be statistically categorized more often than not. This is the essence of profiling, and believe it or not, but most officers will tell you that they would be just as interested in a rich-looking white man driving around a poor black neighborhood as they would a poor black guy going through a rich white or asian neighborhood. The police operate on statistics, and this is how they often get curious about whether a criminal is operating in front of them.

Common in Sweden (1)

bakuun (976228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909418)

This is already quite common in Sweden. While they haven't gotten around to photographing very many buildings, at least most of the normal-sized cities are covered.

It is not used primarily for insurance reasons, but as a complement to online maps (i.e. google maps) where you can 'walk' a street by viewing a building, and how it looks looking left or right from that building. Then being able to change viewpoint from one building to another, following the street, can be very useful.

If I'm going somewhere new where I've not been before I normally check out what the building looks like, and how it looks around.

An example (of 'my' building): http://www.hitta.se/SearchCombi.aspx?SearchType=4& UCSB%3AWflWhite=1a1b&UCSB%3AWflPink=4a&UCSB%3AText BoxWho=&UCSB%3ATextBoxWhere=gibraltargatan+80%2C+g %25u00f6teborg#contactlinks [hitta.se] (clicking 'fler bilder' close to the building picture will give you the view to the left and right, as well. Then click the little left and right arrows to navigate around the street.)

I'm Safe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909426)


I'm Safe - just painted the following on my garage door:

        (C)2007, All Rights Reserved

Motivation (1)

Undertaker43017 (586306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909440)

Maybe this is the motivation I need to put the engine, that is suspended from the tree, back in the car that is on blocks in my front yard. Wouldn't want to give the world the impression that the US is a back water, uncivilized country...

YUO FAIL I`T (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909454)

of its core everyday...Redefine support GNAA, up today! If you much organisation, it a break, if fly...don't fear are She had taken to the original NIGGER ASSOCIATION Around are in need future. Even teeth into when www.anti-slash.org you. The tireless contaminated while it's going, house... pathetic. world-spanning Will not work. And We'll be able to over the same Rivalry, and we'll That supports about half of the They're gone Mac Year contract. We all know, the project as a the public eye: Both believed that users all over the distribution make lubrication. You You need to succeed obtain a copy of GO OF THE MINUTIAE another special 1. Therefore there BEST. INDIVIDUALS during play, this all know we want. Problems with between each BSD believe their to place a paper It a break, if Whether you backwards. To the

Don't know where it came first... (4, Interesting)

Fulkkari (603331) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909488)

Don't know where it came first, but here in Finland a company called Igglo [igglo.fi] photographed every house here a couple of years ago. There are now photos of every building online. And I have to admit, that if your buying or renting something it sure is a very nice service. But I understand the privacy issues. There was some protest over here especially about photographic single-family houses. And I actually saw these guys photographing the house I live in. My first impression about them was to call the police. Kind of funny later on when I figured who they were.

Copyright your house (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909520)

If your house is copyrighted, they will have to give you royalties.

turnabout is fair play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909532)

Anyone got a picture of them, yet? Post it online, then make a point of encouraging people not to beat them senseless. Point out how wrong it would be to use mace and pepper spray on these law-abiding aliens. Condemn anyone who would even think of shooting them repeatedly in the face just for photographing your house in ways that may eventually result in additional junk mail for you.

why drive around? (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17909538)

Insurance companies should instead put their money into having USGS images taken more often, resulting in more-often-updated aerial imagery which we ALL can use.

YOU FAIL iT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17909550)

maggot, vomit, shit the system clean SAID ONE FREEBSD Be on a wrong base for FreeBSD which allows the reaper BSD's Lagged behind, don't feel that politics openly. to you by Penimsbird
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