How to Remove Yourself From Google Street View

BY Hari Sreenivasan  April 16, 2012 at 6:03 PM EST

Anytime a story about Google’s omniscient car cameras comes up, there is an inevitable gasp in the newsroom about the information that is available to anyone, anywhere thanks to images nabbed when the company’s cars drove down familiar streets.

The Internet giant has been hit with a $25,000 fine by the Federal Communications Commission, which said the company hampered an investigation into the way it collected data for Street View. We’ll have a discussion about that investigation and the company’s response on Monday’s NewsHour broadcast.

In the meantime, if there is an image of your house that you would rather not share with the world, or perhaps one of yourself walking down the street, mowing your lawn or doing something less flattering, you can let Google know.

Google Street View’s privacy page says the company has technology that automatically erases faces and license plates, but that is not always the case. Here are the steps to alert Google and get images blurred:

1. Identify the problem image | Anytime you search an address in Google, Maps is one of the options in the results. Keep zooming in on Google Maps. If that address has been visited by a Google mapping vehicle, you’ll see an option for Street View. Once you identify exactly what you might find objectionable or simply do not feel like sharing with others, look on the lower left side of the image for a “Report a problem” button.

2. Click the ‘Report a problem’ button | it is sometimes hard to see because the text is small and grey. Answer a few simple questions in the form to specify your privacy concern with the image; or let them know that it should be blurred for some other reason.

3. Select the problem area | There will be a giant red box over the image, and you can move and resize that image until it fits over the problem spot.

4. Submit | Include your email address. At the bottom of the reporting page, there is a verification box. Type in the word you see before pressing submit.

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