Google pulls some street images

Google has removed dozens of photos from its new UK Street View service.

The street-mapping facility launched amid a fanfare of publicity but now the firm has been forced to pull some of the images after complaints.

It is thought the pictures removed contained revealing images of homes, a man entering a London sex shop, people being arrested and a man being sick.

A spokesperson for Google told that anyone could have their images removed if they asked.

"We've got millions of images, so the percentage removed was very small," Google's Laura Scott told .
"We want this to be a useful tool and it's people's right to have their image removed.

"The fact there are now gaps [in Street View] shows how responsive we are," she added.

The imagery available comprises video taken along 22,369 miles of UK streets by customised camera cars.

Offending photos have been replaced by a black image with the message "This image is no longer available". However, many of the images can still be viewed by moving up or down a notch on the street.

Dr Ian Brown, a privacy expert at the Oxford Internet Institute, said he was not surprised that there were some offending images.

"This is exactly what you would expect from a service that relies on individuals to help Google not make mistakes," he said.

"They [Google] should have thought more carefully about how they designed the service to avoid exactly this sort of thing."

Dr Brown said Google could have taken images twice, on different days, so offending images could have been easily replaced and protected privacy better.

Google says it has gone to great lengths to ensure privacy, suggesting that the service only shows imagery already visible from public thoroughfares.

It also uses face recognition technology to blur out faces and registration plates that appear in the images.

The Information Commissioner's Office ruled in 2008 that the blurring was sufficient to ensure that privacy was maintained.

The image of a man being sick in Shoreditch and a man emerging from a sex shop were removed
Two men in London make rude gestures towards the Google car

Here's Wally! Google hid the character from the Where's Wally children books on Putney High Street in London
Now you see it, now you don't: An image of bus passengers being questioned by police (above) is viewable from one angle but another view (below) has been blacked out

Google planted the character Sherlock Holmes in Oxford and a female Beefeater in Birmingham outside Selfridges

Fans of Manchester City may be bemused to see footballer Micah Richards' face blurred out on the stadiumOver zealous facial recognition software has fuzzed out Bobby Sands' face on a mural on Falls Road in Belfast
Irony: Banksy's 'One Nation Under CCTV' graffiti in London is captured by the Google Car
REMOVED: This picture of a man making the 'V' sign in Cardiff has been taken down
The same man, who is one of our workers, is caught on camera twice on two different days in West London by the Google Street View cameras

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