Street View Sabotage! [Updated × 2]

Wednesday, 7th May 2008 by

Two more incidences of sabotage discovered - see the end of this post

Many people have voiced their concerns regarding the privacy implications of Google's Street View service - but what if there were a way to "opt-out" of having your neighbourhood displayed online?

Yes, it appears that some enterprising resident of Fairbanks, Alaska, has worked out how to completely disable the Street View car's onboard recording device! Even better, the process doesn't involve any technical wizardry - all you need to do is stick a plastic bag over the top of the camera.

We can be quite sure this is a plastic bag too, because it actually says "plastic bag" on it. Unfortunately we're not familiar enough with Alaskan plastic bags to tell you exactly what shop it's from.

(Image rotated 180°)

The saboteurs must have been extremely quick on their feet of course, as the bag appeared without any warning while the car was travelling at speed along College Road.1

The bag remains in place for quite a long way actually - right along College Road, onto the Old Steese Highway and halfway up Minnie Street, where it finally disappears at the junction with Clara Street.

Hopefully the discovery of this exciting technique will allow privacy advocates everywhere to finally thwart Google's endlessly evil efforts to provide us all with really useful driving directions!

Update: It seems those sneaky Alaskans are disabling Street View cameras with anything they can get their hands on - as proven by these images captured by a vehicle in Anchorage. Thanks to Alaskan in the comments.

Update 2: Again in Anchorage, commenter Barry from Alaska caught the Street View camera wearing what looks like a tin-foil hat.

Thanks to Alden.

  1. Unless... (cue dramatic chipmunk) - you don't think the guys in the car put the plastic bag there deliberately, do you? ↩︎