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Google Street View no substitute for real thing

14 April 2009

Angry residents may be coming out onto the village streets to confront the Google Street View car, as several newspapers have reported. But there won’t be many FMs in the mob.
According to FM World’s latest FM 100 poll, 71 per cent of respondents thought the press reports were a storm in a teacup. There is no foreseen compromise to security for their organisation should their business show up on an internet street view: “Absolutely ridiculous,” said one respondent. “Any burglar worth their salt will case the joint rather than rely on a photo.”
A typical sanguine view is: “There's nothing to stop a thief driving past with their phone-video on to get the same, even more up-to-date, footage.”
And don’t forget the D-Day landings: “Photographs, while useful, are no substitute for reconnaissance on the ground. Before the D-Day landings, Royal Marine commandos went ashore to take samples of beach sand so an assessment could be made of the load-bearing capacity for armoured vehicles.”

But some FMs are upset – even suspicious – about Google's mobile photoshoot: “They have no right! I feel their ulterior motive is clouded behind agencies we can only speculate about. I spent a year working in Moscow where some were closed to foreigners. So why can Google Earth could show them openly? Is it because of the people who will benefit when their task is complete?”
A few FMs might even take action: “What’s the world coming too? Who is really interested in this footage except for burglars? Isn’t there enough CCTV footage? Isn’t our privacy invaded enough already? It’s appalling and I would be part of any group of angry villagers who mob the vehicle.”

More tea, vicar?