Google Street View slammed as 'a service for burglars'

Swindon on Street View

More than half of those responding to a recent survey have labelled Google Street View an "intrusion" into their private lives, with one in four believing it to be "a service for burglars".

Discount website My Voucher Codes UK canvassed 1,317 people across the country on the street-mapping service, which reached 95 per cent coverage of the UK last week with its latest wave of upgrades.

A total of 57 per cent said they felt the service intruded on their private lives, with just a third seeing it as a positive addition.

The lack of consultation from Google is a particular sore point, it seems three quarters of those objecting to Street View pinpointed the fact that they hadn't been asked to give permission for images to be used as their chief objection.

However, despite 24 per cent repeating the oft-stated opinion that Street View made it easier for burglars to identify security weaknesses, a Thames Valley Police told The Telegraph there was "no evidence" to suggest the service led to an increase in burglaries.

For its part, Google stressed that it takes privacy concerns very seriously and pointed out that at all times a link was available allowing a user to ask for a picture to be blurred or removed permanently.

|"Anyone who has a privacy concern and wants to remove their house can do so quickly and easily but in fact we often find people get in touch asking us to come and put their street on the map," a spokesman said. "When it comes to security, police have told us there is no evidence to suggest an increase in crime as a result of Street View."

Google Street View launched in 2007, and first arrived in the UK a year ago when coverage of an initial 25 cities was rolled out. It now covers 238,000 miles of UK public roads.

A statement accompanying last week's expansion reaffirmed the company's commitment to privacy: "Google has gone to great lengths to safeguard privacy while allowing all British users to benefit from this feature. Google UK has consulted extensively with many privacy and community groups in developing the feature and privacy safeguards."