Teenager helps find robbers using Google Street View

Well, it seems Google Street View is not all “bad” when it comes to the subject of “privacy.” A year back, in the month of September, a 14 year old boy reported to the police in Groningen, Holland, that he had been hooked off his bicycle by a couple of men who snitched his money (€165 or $230) and cell phone.

At that time, the boy did not have enough evidence to prove it.

Six months later in March, the boy saw himself and the two men he believed attacked him, just about the place where he was allegedly robbed, on Google Street View. The boy approached the police again with the images and the photos proved as an important contribution in finding the crime suspects.

Screenshots of the blurred faces:


The Dutch police requested Google to provide them with the “unblurred” images from Street View and subsequently managed to arrest the twin brothers (one of them recognized by Groningen’s robbery squad.) It will soon be decided whether to charge the suspects.

Since its launch in 2007, Google Street View has reached out to more than 100 cities worldwide, however has faced complaints related to privacy from many people and institutions that have been photographed. Street View provides 360-degree panoramic images of urban areas that the user can manipulate, as part of Google’s Internet mapping products.

The tool has become one of Google’s more controversial projects, with privacy advocates warning it could compromise people’s rights and leave them open to abuses by criminals or snooping government agencies. However, this time it seems to have worked the other way round, right?

(Source: AP)

(Image credits: Google maps)