How to tell Google Street View to sod off

Tired of Google Street View snooping on you? Here's how to remove yourself from their spying eyes.

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Once again, Google has been caught with its pants down – or, more accurately, it’s been caught pulling down other peoples’ pants. It turns out that when Google Street View vans “accidentally” slurped up 600GB of personal information off WiFi networks for three years, it wasn’t really an accident. In fact, at least half a dozen people at Google knew about the data collection and did nothing to stop it.

As I stated in my rant (“Google is the new Peeping Tom”), I think sending vans festooned with cameras down my street to snap pictures of my house – let alone slurp up my data -- is a violation of my privacy.

Think about it. If some stranger walked down your street, stopped in front of your house and snapped a photo, you’d probably stop him and ask him what the hell he’s doing. If he told you he was putting all these photos in a massive address database accessible by anyone in the world at any time, you’d probably tell him to take a hike. I know I would.

So I think it’s time to tell Google to take a hike. Because I’m trying to think of why having a photo of my house in Google Street View benefits me, and I’m coming up blank. Maybe if it was a commercial or rental property, it would be helpful for strangers to see it. Otherwise, nada.

I also don’t think Google should be mapping everyone’s open WiFi networks with its Street View Vans. So here are two ways to tell Google Street View to sod off. 

1. Remove your house from Street View

Yes you can ask Google to remove your home or other buildings from Street View. Thank the German government for that; they insisted Google offer that option before rolling out Street View over there in 2010, and Google then extended it to everyone else. So far, some 3 percent of Germans have opted out. What that means in real terms is that the houses are still visible, but the details have been blurred.

To follow the Germans’ lead you need to start by finding your house on Google Maps, then drag the little Street View Man onto the pavement in front of your abode. Once you’re looking at your house you need to click the barely visible “Report a problem” link on the bottom left of the photo.

Make sure you click the correct “Report a problem” link, as there are two of them on that page and they do different things. 

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