Angry mob turns back Google Street View car

A resident of Broughton, England, sees a Google Street View car coming down the road. He gets other residents together to surround the car and force the driver to flee.

You might be forgiven for thinking this is Mob Week in Britain.

Protesters have twittered to organize themselves into groups that storm banks and protest the G20 Summit. But things have gone way beyond that.

A poor, innocent Google Street View driver was merely doing his duty in the village of Broughton, Buckinghamshire, England. Broughton is a posh village, a little on the snooty side.

But when Paul Jacobs spotted the Googlie snooper rolling down his street, the village became positively snotty. He rushed around to other people's homes to tell them to come outside and help him thwart the evil eye.

Yes, the Google Street View car was surrounded by the bulging jowls of the bourgeoisie.

A scene from the G20 protest. No, that's not short for the Google 20. CC Charlotte Gilhooly

"I ran outside to flag the car down and told the driver he was not only invading our privacy but also facilitating crime," Jacobs told the Daily Mail.

Broughton, you see, has already endured three burglaries in the last six weeks. And residents believe displaying the full contours of their streets to the world can only reveal the weaker parts of their homes' ramparts.

Jacobs, an executive with a global entertainment company, is a multi-tasker. Not only did he stop the car and get a support group together, but he also found time to call the police. By the time officers arrived, the Street View car had fled the scene.

Unfortunately, a Google representative did not exactly make the situation any more friendly: "Householders are entitled to request their property is removed from the site, but only after the picture has appeared."

This does sound so sadly like: "We are gods and you may plead your case to us at the appropriate time on knees bent to at least a 90-degree angle."

Given Street View's somewhat sketchy record in terms of people-sensitivity, might not Google have issued a somewhat more understanding communique?

I live in hope. It's just down the road from Broughton. Emotionally speaking.

 

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