Google Maps is spying on my cat, says freaked out BB reader

BoingBoing reader Mary Kalin-Casey says,

The new Google Maps zoom feature zooms all the way into my living room window. See cat on cat perch.

I'm all for mapping, but this feature literally gives me the shakes. I feel like I need to close all my curtains now. I'm going to look into whether it's possible for a person to have pictures of their home removed from Google Maps. Meanwhile, I'm happy to show bb readers the photo in the interest of illustrating creepy privacy violations. Heck, the whole world can see him anyway.

Link. Dang, it's so detailed, I can even see he's a tabby!

Reader comment: Rich Gibson warns us of the global threat of "delusional cat fanciers," and their dastardly luddite cartel:

Mary Kalin-Casey may be sane, but I doubt it, and it is a Good Thing that Google now provides 'Street View.' Google, and contractors (and several other mapping companies), are driving vans with cameras up and down the streets.

Please don't support the paranoid rantings of deluded cat fanciers who want to have public data censored to serve their own psychosis.

You don't have a right to 'privacy' over what can be seen while driving the speed limit past your house. Boing Boing regularly blogs about evil security guards beating down poor photographers who just want to take pictures of pretty buildings. How is the case made different when the 'poor photographer' is replaced by a van of camers, and the evil security guard is replaced by a person who, if not evil, is certainly a cat owner, which is pretty suspicious in itself?

danKissam says,
I was looking at it and it dawned on me: if she succeeds on removing her home from Street View it will be a real-world '404: site not found' proffered by Google. I kind of hope this happens as I'm sure it would be surreal.
KevinQ says,
There could be even more privacy issues than "they can see my cat." For example, the link provided here shows a car sitting in a driveway, and you can read the car's license plate clearly. I don't know exactly what you could do with that information, but there it is.
Daniel Terdiman from CNET News says,
Riffing on--and linking to--your post about the cat that is being spied on using Google Maps Street View, we're looking for submissions for the best examples of this dynamic, and we'll post a story and/or gallery of the best in a couple of days. Link.
Anonymous says,
Here is a humorous image concerning a method to ask Google not to show your home (that's the 'grammar' used in the robots.txt standard to ask robots not to index your website).

Pen Waggener says,

Interesting story. Has nobody else noticed that there's a _person_ in the crosswalk beside this apartment complex? Following the link in the story to Google Maps, Zoom out 1, then click the little arrow to the right to see her, and then you can zoom in 4 times to clearly make out a high level of facial detail.
Mark says,
The ironic thing about Mary Kalin-Casey's submission, is that her name and home address are now spread across the internet, which is a much more significant privacy concern than a view of a cat in her window.
Bob Arctor says,
Here's a detailed picture of my neighbor taking out the trash. At least he can use it to prove to his roommates that he actually does some work around the house!
Invisible BB reader says,
There is a way to have an image removed from Google's Street View -- or at least an interfact that allows you to report an inappropriate image. If you hit "Street View help" from the image window, there's a link at the bottom that allows you to "Report inappropriate image." One of the options is "this image infringes on my privacy."

This link will allow the cat in question to report the image as "inappropriate".

Incidentally, a little ways south down the street, the camera captured a lady getting into her car. You can identify her, and her license plate, with excellent clarity. Left as an exercise for the reader.

David Herman says,
I think this lady may have a cat in a plastic bag. She's right down the street from the cat in the window.
Mike Outmesguine says,
Looking into the Belagio in Vegas... Why? Link.
Scott Beale says,
Just to follow-up on your post about the new Google Maps Street View feature, someone has located San Francisco's legendary Frank Chu and another person is trying to track down world famous street busker Bushman. Link.
Goudenvacht50 says,
Here's a toll booth operator at the Golden Gate Bridge. This is truly frightening.
Elinor Mills of CNET says,
I wrote this article before being alerted to your item on Google maps spying on a reader's cat. Coincidentally, I included photos of my former front windows where you can see the pillows my cats loved to sit in, but no cats in the shot. Pity.
Bryan Eisenberg says,
We just posted on our blog pictures of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel where cameras are not permitted since 9/11 but street view has images with traffic.
Bill (Digitaleejit) says,
Of all the times to be coming out of a strip club: Link.

Ryan Singel from Wired News says,

I'll do Daniel one better. Come submit and vote on your favorite inadvertant, urban snapshots here: Link.
edmDusty says,
6th and Howard (by the building with chairs and shit on it) has been blacked out for some reason on google street level maps. Link.
I took a "walk" in downtown Denver using Google Maps' Street View, and i discovered a couple of buildings that "disappear" when you get close to them. It's really interesting to look at and makes me think of the real-world "404: Site Not Found" that danKissam mentions. Link.
Anonymous says,
2 fellows going into the cannabis club "Sanctuary" at 669 Ofarrell in San Francisco: Link. zoom out and scroll to the left a little to see the address. Pity they didn't have their marijuana leaf/physician's cross thingie sign out. You can obscure their face a little more by going one click west.

See also:

  • Google Maps Zoom and kitty on perch: the inevitable LOLcatting
  • / / COMMENTS


    1. Above, commenter Rich Gibson mocks the topic subject’s concern for privacy by citing “You don’t have a right to ‘privacy’ over what can be seen while driving the speed limit past your house.” Well, for that to be true, I guess Rich Gibson drives a double decker bus 2.5 building floors tall, at 1 mile per hour, while peeping deep into strangers’s 2nd floor homes without their knowledge or consent.

      Yet Rich Gibson fails to post his own address here, so that anyone with any motive can peer across the internet for a freeze-frame view of HIS family members. Evidently he has the luxury of amused insensitivity about privacy concerns of vulenrable citizens who live in urban zones with escalating crime rates. As the above cat owner, and others, do.

      By pure chance I stumbled upon this blog while researching violation of my own residential privacy by google’s invasive cameras, which I learned of only today, a full year after blog topic started). I’m somewhat relieved to see my own home just happened to have drapes closed on the day google-snoops immortalized visual intrusion into my apartment for the whole internet world to see. (Luckily, where my drapes gape from a window frame, only my unusual wall color is shown.) I’d be horrified to have any further violation of my privacy, which I go great lengths to safeguard! By pure chance, I recognize the above subject’s exact location as mere blocks away from where I live and daily drive. And I recognize her name from an internet discussion group we both subscribe to. Great, now I know more about her than I ever wanted to. It nauseates me to consider how easily I accidently availed myself of this unauthorized visual intrusion into her home. Thus, how easily ANYONE can. Myself, as a single woman living alone in our city with skyrocketing crime rates, (AND, my being an again survivor of 2 different life-threatening crimes), I offer my profound condolences to the cat owner, and to all other unauthorized techno upskirts, for this unfortunate but irreversable situation. (I refuse to participate in even re-publishing her name, since it’s unclear how this page’s blogger ever came to access and rebroadcast her original comments, in the first place.)

    2. After looking at my local area in Derby, UK, I noticed that the wealthy area of quarndon is not included. Also dodgy drug dealing residencies near Arboretum, Normanton, are missing.

      So why the hell should ordinary people have their properties on there without their personal consent and more importantly without the personal request from a large arrogant multi-billion organisation that thinks they can just ‘get away with it’.

      It is most probable that the way people will hit back, will be by complete refusal to use google search engine and related facilities. It’s amazing how quickly their share price would drop, if they’re seen as an undesirable organisation, and, clearly, an accessory to the criminal empire! Even better, why don’t we short the b**tards!

      Why the hell should Cherie Blair have her house swiftly removed when she has been known to be a qc for alledged criminals. Kind of stinks doesn’t it?

      Change your search engine now – I have.

    3. There is a way to have an image removed from Google’s Street View — or at least an interfact that allows you to report an inappropriate image. If you hit “Street View help” from the image window, there’s a link at the bottom that allows you to “Report inappropriate image.” One of the options is “this image infringes on my privacy.”

    Comments are closed.