How to put blinders on Google Street View
Want to remove yourself from Google's street-level imagery? Here's how.
Google Maps Street View (more coverage) is about the coolest mapping application I've ever seen. And the creepiest. On it, you can see people walking into adult bookstores (and you thought Google only tracked your porn habits online), license plates on cars parked in driveways, and women inadvertently (presumably) flashing their underwear at the Google cameras.
But there's a way for users to block Street View images. Just as governments have asked Google to blur the overhead images of Google Maps, you can ask Google to censor street-level photos. It's easy: just click on "Street View Help," on the offending image, and then "Report inappropriate image."
You have to give a reason for the takedown request (security, privacy, indecency, or other), and it's not clear how quickly or completely Google will react to these requests, nor what will happen if Google gets overwhelmed with requests. And who's the judge of what's a legit request? Can a shop owner get an image of a competing store's location removed? Can a woman who doesn't want her cat to be visible block images? (Apparently not, according to the New York Times.)
But if you've inadvertently flashed Google, or perhaps if you don't want your spouse to see your car parked in your ex's driveway, now you know how to get the ball rolling to recover your privacy.