Did you know you can blur your house in Google Street View? It can be an easy and effective way to add another layer of security to your personal information. Google and other big tech companies have had an historically difficult time finding the balance between convenience and personal privacy, such as Meta’s recent $18.6 million fine for breaching EU privacy laws. Google and Apple have had their own share of privacy issues, and over time, all of these companies are providing ways to give the power back to consumers when it comes to when, where, and how their personal data gets used.
Since Google Street View rolled out in 2007, more than 10 million miles of street-level images have been photographed for their map-based software. Understandably, not everyone is comfortable with having readily available images of their private property available online for anyone to find. In fact, German and Austrian citizens were so outraged, Street View was banned in Austria from 2010 to 2017 and Germany declared the map program an extreme invasion of privacy. Google responded to their outrage by rolling out the option to blur your personal property upon request. Now, almost all of Germany is blurred out and Austria has only recently started to allow Street View cameras in select areas.
Anyone can blur their house on Google Street View and it’s easy to see why you might want to do so. However, it’s good to know the pros and cons before diving right in. Although you can request blurring or report a photo of your home, face, or other identifying information, the action is permanent and cannot be undone. If your blurred home appears on a street full of non-blurred homes, it could backfire by making your personal property stand out more. Additionally, other companies like Apple and Bing have their own street mapping software, so if you blur a photo on Google, you would likely want to repeat the process on those other sites. Also, if you are thinking about selling your house, blurring the property can steer off potential buyers.
If increased personal privacy is worth any potential downsides, the process to request blurring your house is simple:
1) Open Google Maps
2) Find and open any photos that contain images of your house or identifying information
3) Click ‘Report a problem’ in the bottom right
4) Complete and submit the form.
Simple as that! Everyone has the right to decide what parts of their personal lives they want to share with the rest of the world and this is a very effective way to add an extra layer of security to your personal information.
By Jennifer Egbert. Jennifer is an award-winning Realtor® at milehimodern real estate in Boulder with more than twenty years of experience. She specializes in Luxury neighborhoods, home builders and current market conditions. Visit jenniferegbert.com, or call 720.821.0898.