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Since its launch in 2007, Google Street View has been a topic of ongoing controversy centered around  the issues of privacy and security. Advocates of Google Street View argue that the feature falls under the realm of open information, whereas critics of it state that the feature is an invasion of privacy and a potential threat to personal safety. In 2013, Google admitted to violating privacy by collecting WiFi usage in 38 states while collecting images for the Street View project. And Google Street View is under new scrutiny this week, as 28 different countries have now stated that Google has violated the privacy laws within each one of these countries, with Google Street View being banned in both Austria and the Czech Republic as of today, September 18, 2020, as identified in this LegalZoom article: Google Street View Privacy Issues Raised Again.

Privacy and security continue to be modern-day concerns for many people, especially survivors of Domestic Violence who may continue to experience stalking, threats, abuse and harassment from abusers they have tried to escape. For the survivor or victim whose abuser or predator is still at large and who continues to pose a threat, Google Street View may be cause for serious concerns. Even if you are not navigating any specific threat to your safety, you may not want anyone with internet access to also have access to the array of images of your home that Google Street View may have stored and readily available to view by simply Googling your address.

Those concerns and risks can now be lessened by the Google Street View Blur feature, which allows you to request that your home be permanently blurred in all available images on Google Maps. Although there are many articles online that discuss the controversy of Google Street View, as well as other articles and tutorials that guide you in blurring the images of your home, here is the Step-By-Step Process to Permanently Blur Your Home on Google Street View:

  1. Go to Google Maps and type in your address.
  2. Bring up the street view of your property.
  3. Look to the bottom right hand corner of the screen you should see an icon labeled: “Report a problem.”
  4. Click on “Report a problem.”
  5. You will get a page called “Report Inappropriate Street View.”
  6. There will be a box called “Image Preview” where you can adjust the area you would like blurred.
  7. Below the Image Preview, there is a section called “Why Are You Reporting This Image?
  8. If you want your house blurred, click on “My home.”
  9. A text box will appear where you should add verifying information, such as your address and a description of your house.
  10. You need to include your email address in the box below that.
  11. They use a reCAPTCHA verification service, so click the “I’m not a robot” box and hit “Submit
  12. Check back in a few days to see if the image has been blurred.

For additional online tutorials on How to Blur Your Home on Google Street View, please see:

How to blur your house on Google Street View (and why you should)
Mashable, September 12, 2020

And this one-minute Youtube Video: Why You Should Blur Your House on Google Maps.

If you are in need of support or assistance around experiences of domestic or sexual violence or stalking, please refer to the comprehensive listing of International Resources for Survivors I’ve created to help you find the assistance, support and resources that can help you navigate these experiences.

All peace to each one of you. Dora

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