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Internet giant says it is wrong to blame crime on Street View
A milkman claims burglars targeted his garage three times after spotting its door wide open on Google’s controversial Street View website.
Gordon Rayner, of Thackley, Bradford, believes criminals could have been using the service which allows anyone in the world to instantly see a 360-degree picture of his – and any other – street.
An online Street View image clearly shows Mr Rayner standing next to his house in front of an open garage door.
Inside the garage is expensive equipment such as a washing machine and a mountain bike, which has now been stolen.
Mr Rayner, 54, of Brackendale Parade, described Street View as ‘an invasion of privacy’ after a neighbour pointed out the picture on his computer.
He said: “When you look at the photograph, my face is blacked out, the windows of my house are blacked out but because the garage door was left open, you can clearly see everything in there.
“I would argue that they should have blacked that out. It is just an invitation for any criminal to take what they like.”
The bike was stolen during a break-in last month. The thieves returned the following two nights and tried, without success, to get into the garage.
Mr Rayner, a former manager of Bradford Park Avenue and Guiseley football clubs, said anything of value had now been removed.
Street View’s launch sparked concerns from privacy campaigners who claimed the site made it easy for criminals to check out potential victims.
But watchdog the Information Commiss-ioner’s Office (ICO) has given the service the all-clear. A Google spokesman said the company had agreed to blur or rub out images of people or houses on request. The spokesman said: “The imagery on Street View is no different to what anyone could readily capture or see by travelling down the street themselves.
“We’ve now launched Street View in around 20 countries and nowhere has there been any increase in crime as a result.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said it was investigating the garage burglary, which happened on Friday, March 12, between 8pm and 1am the following day. Anyone with information about it should contact police on 0845 6060606.