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Here in the mysterious offices of The Curmudgeon, we have investigated many a murder and suspicious death, though seldom do we have photographic evidence of the crime.  But that’s just what Google’s Street View got when photographing a street in Britain.  The picture was posted on the Internet as part of the service and raised some eyebrows…and the dead. Seems the image was of ten-year-old Azura Beebeejaun who was ‘playing dead’ outside her home in Middle Road, Worcester.

Unaware that it was a game of Possum, locals became so concerned over the image that they called the Internet firm and the local newspaper.  The picture had actually been taken the previous summer.  The girl said, “I didn’t know anything about the Google Street View car (recording me). I fell over while I was playing with my friend and thought it would be funny to play dead.”  Well, it is funny Azura, wish I had done it myself.

The Google Street View service offers 360-degree views of streets, allowing users to see the actual streets in a neighborhood.  Google uses cars fitted with panoramic camera’s on their roofs to capture the images.  I always wondered how they did it.  I thought it was camera toting leprechauns, but no such luck.  If it were, we’d get some mighty interesting pictures.  Leprechauns are kind of cheeky, you know.  You might get a little Peeping Tom action, or in this case, Google Oogling.

A youth worker acquainted with Azura said, “I just wish she was that quiet all the time.” A Google spokesoogler said, “This is why we have put in place tools so that if people see what they believe to be inappropriate, they can report them to us using the simple reporting tool and the images will be quickly removed or further blurring applied.”

It’s not the first controversy Google has encountered over the service.  Last year British users complained about invasion of privacy, forcing Google to remove hundreds of photographs.  Germany launched an inquiry into whether Google had their special “oogle view” cars adapted to also map internet connections in homes around the world to help it sell adverts, using the signals which spill from inside homes on to the street.   This information lets Google send mobile phone users adverts for
nearby restaurants, shops and other services through its Google Maps application, collecting a fee every time a user clicks on an advert.

As a result of that inquiry, Australia, South Korea, France, Germany, Canada and America launched investigations after Street View cars collected private data sent from the unprotected home wi-fi
connections.    Ooooo, Google, you’re such naughty, naughty boys!  I had no idea you would resort to such sneaky business!

I’ve filed my own lawsuit…for not initiating Leprechaunic Oogle View.

(Some information for the story came from The Daily Mail, United Kingdom.)

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