I live in a private community. At every entrance of the community there is a sign which reads ‘No Trespassing. No Soliciting. Private Community, Residents Only.”
The street in the community are private property, which means that if anyone who does not live in the community is using the streets for reasons besides visiting a resident or approved business for a resident; they are trespassing. The rules are harsh, but it keeps out the unwanted salespeople, beggars, riff raff, and kids throwing patio furniture in the pool. And it also keeps out Google StreetView cameras.
News hit over the weekend of North Oaks, a small St. Paul Minnesota suburb which is a private city of 4,500. In North Oaks, the community is owned by the residents and the streets are private property. Which means Google StreetView cars are not allowed to enter the area to photograph houses.
Google Maps ignored the no trespassing ordinance, entered private property, and then shot the entire city. NorthOaks has now issued a demand that Google Maps remove images of the homes and locations shot from the private streets from Google Maps StreetView.
“It’s not the hoity-toity folks trying to figure out how to keep the world away,” North Oaks Mayor Thomas Watson told StarTribune.com, “They really didn’t have any authorization to go on private property.”
This is not the first time Google StreetView has run into trouble for trespassing, and it probably won’t be the last. I am happy to find out however that Google obeyed the laws in my small private Tampa community of 500 people or so, and did not enter the private property.