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April 06, 2009

Google Street View: The Brits Versus Big Brother

Googlecar
A Google Street View cam car in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood.
Photo: MarkWallace on Flickr using Creative Commons

by Sara Tucker

British citizens are in high dudgeon over Google Street View, whose cam cars have been prowling their streets for the past year. Since the mapping system's U.K. launch on March 19, tempers have reached the boiling point. Last week, a Google mapper turned tail and bolted after confronting angry vigilantes in the ordinarily peaceful town of Broughton. Privacy watchdogs think the mapping system is creepy, while home owners charge it's a burglar's dream. Today, critics of the prying digital eye, used to promote tourism in a growing list of countries, had something new to gripe about: the danger that they themselves might get caught breaking the law.

Click here for a primer on Google Earth and Google Maps from Condé Nast Traveler's April issue.

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