Google gimmick sparks burglary fears

SEATON residents fear a controversial online gimmick could leave them and their homes vulnerable.

SEATON residents fear a controversial online gimmick could leave them and their homes vulnerable.A Google Street View van was spotted in town last week and, if the town goes 'live' on the internet, detailed photographs of homes could be readily available.The revelation comes in the wake of a formal complaint being launched by lobby group Privacy International - which wants to shut down the site.Maggie Berreen, 57, of Rowan Drive, feels it is an invasion of privacy which could make life easier for burglars - and possibly paedophiles.She said: "Seaton is a sleepy little town, so I feel it is more vulnerable. Adverts are warning people not to make life easier for burglars - and this is doing exactly that."The majority of people in Seaton are retired and they don't all have computers or the skills to use them. It's quite likely they don't even know these things are out there."Mrs Berreen is concerned the technology will make it easier for burglars and paedophiles to prey on their victims.Fellow resident Jeremy Griffiths, 48, said worried neighbours had contacted him as he is a known computer user.He said he had seen aerial shots, which could reveal escape routes for would-be burglars."It can worry an awful lot of people, particularly the elderly. Many were surprised, annoyed and upset to learn about this," he said.A spokesman for Google said he could not confirm or deny if Google Street View would be coming to Seaton. But he said privacy was at the forefront of the function.He said: "The whole point of Street View is that, if people don't like an image of their house going up, they have complete control to take it off with the click of a mouse."Also, all faces and number plates are blurred - so you can't identify anybody.