Google Street View Security Issues

Services for Real Estate Pros with Inc

You may not realize it but a picture of your own home is very likely available on the Internet thanks to the popular Google Street View map program.

I’m a big fan of Google. They’ve done a great job or organizing the world’s information. All their tools and apps like Gmail, calendar and docs are fully functional and mobile. They seemed to have taken the fight out of technology with these tools.

Then, there is Google Street View. Zoom, rotate and pan through street level photos of cities around the world. I remember the day Google Street View came down my street. I live on a private dead end and they came right down my driveway. They got stuck trying to turn around and we had to move a car for them.

Then, a few months later there it was on Google Street View. It’s an ambitious attempt at mapping the world just like you were there yourself.

So how does this affect you? For one thing, it allows anyone anywhere to gain intelligence about your street, fences, gates, driveway and information about your home and in general scope out your neighborhood. Certainly someone can simply just drive-by and use a video camera or take pictures and Google Street View makes it even easier.

But what if Google captured much more than a picture?

Now Google admits they messed up a little. An ambitious Google Street View engineer plugged some code in their data collection process that they planned on using to collect data on “Public Wi-Fi Hotspots”.

The code pulled more the just hotspots. There could have been enough data pulled to steal someone’s identity.

Protect yourself by making sure your wireless router is protected with a password.

When you have an unsecured wireless connection, it’s just like leaving the front door to your home open and inviting the world to come inside to take a peek.

Google says its Street View cars will stay in park until the problem is fixed.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. D B 05/27/2010 08:52 AM
  2. Vick The Realtor . 05/30/2010 04:58 PM
adt home security source

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Jo Olson
HOMEFRONT Realty - Kettle Falls, WA
Retired - HOMEFRONT Realty @ LAKE Roosevelt

Lets see. Prior to street view, Facebook, twitter I had experienced 4 thefts of property in my life.  Do I believe that "criminals" watch this stuff to see who to "hit" next - maybe.  Am I going to hide from the online world - no. I love street view.  When my street was taken I was out of town.  I love using it with clients that are relocating here.  As for the wireless routers - well that is just people being stupid.  

I like Jim's comment -It all comes down to being responsible for our own security.

May 27, 2010 02:35 AM #16
Ted Tyndall
Davidson Realty Inc. - Saint Augustine, FL
I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy

Robert, I agree with TLW. People that talk on the Interenet about leaving their home is a crime waiting to happen. Programs like Street maps make it wasier  for the crooks.

May 27, 2010 02:48 AM #17
Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson Realty Group - Fayetteville, NC
Fort Bragg Military Relocation Services, Fayettevi

I agree, the fact that the average person doesn't even know who is working for who and for what the cause is scary enough. The fact of the matter is while its helpful to many harmless people, you have to wonder just how helpful it is to a criminal. In the picture you can see cars, bikes and basically anything that was left outside at that time. We have to be more careful.

May 27, 2010 03:55 AM #18
Rob D. Shepherd
Windermere/lane county - Florence, OR
Principal Broker GRI, SRES

I always wondered how many people have been been busted, wrong car in driveway while mate is at work?

May 27, 2010 04:50 AM #19
Robert Hammerstein
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate

Robert - You have some very scary ideas concerning our privacy issues and I have to admit I am a believer. All good advice. Everyone should have a password set up on a secured wi-fi network. A good reminder to all. Thanks

May 27, 2010 05:28 AM #20
Jean Hanley
Coldwell Banker Kivett Teeters - Hemet, CA
Specializing in Folks Who Want To Buy/Sell Homes

I'm about to date myself here, but when I was in junior high (middle school), we watched a movie called 1984.  I'm sure most of you have seen or heard of it.  The main message:  BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING.....hmmmm

May 27, 2010 06:47 AM #22
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Not sure why they had to do a street level of your house, because this is all done by satellites.  All things that beam up from the earth into the telecom satellites are recorded.  I forget the name of that thing.  My quip to these things is; they should just CHIP ME and get if over with already!!  GEEZ. 

May 27, 2010 07:08 AM #23
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth
Personal WiFi hot spots are not public. What are they thinking?
May 27, 2010 07:09 AM #24
Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522 - Raleigh, NC
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate

Lee and I saw this on the news a week or so ago and then nothing.  POOF, not a word.  We're all being watched one way or another.  I guess as I told our kids growing up - be aware of your surroundings.  AND today I'd add ~ and use some common sense...  Hope they don't keep those street view cars parked for long though.  Out of town clients LOVE being able to see what the area looks like street view!

May 27, 2010 07:29 AM #25
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

If you dont have an encrypted password you are just asking for trouble.

May 27, 2010 09:00 AM #26
Vince McEveety
Gilleran Griffin Realty - Sherman Oaks, CA

anyone know how to crack wpa code?

May 27, 2010 09:55 AM #27
Bill Travis
Captain Bill Realty, LLC - Gilbert, AZ

We may not like that pictures of our house are on the internet, but it is still legal to photograph a house and use that photo.

May 27, 2010 10:11 AM #28
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Robert -- I was kind of weirded when I first saw the street view thing, but then it became really handy as a buyer's agent and even when I'm trying to go to a new place.  I prefer bing's bird's eye view.  I do lament the privacy that seems to keep slipping away everyday.


I wonder if Aldous Huxley could envision a wireless MRI that captures your dreams and links it up with Google's street view so all your neighbors could know what you were dreaming about last night, and then link it up with FourSquare so they can track you down in real-time to talk about it.  And then go home and write blogs about it and have the SEO make it on the 1st page of Google.

May 27, 2010 10:23 AM #29
David Farrell
David V. Farrell Co. - Garden City, NY
Licensed NY State Real Estate Broker

Why on earth would anyone care if Google took a photo of their house?  My God?!?  Everyone freaking out about this probably also has a Facebook account with private family photos and personal data stored there.  If you want to be anonymous in real life, buy a farm, set your home back from the road, post a sign that intruders will be shot or mauled to death, and then follow the sign.  Do you realize the NSA has been monitoring (in one way or another) every phone call ever made in the US for decades?

Why don't we all take a deep breath and get real things about which to worry.

a)  Billions of gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico will contaminate our waters for at least the balance of our lifetimes.

b)  Our government has destroyed every facet of our economy, bankrupted our nation, and is attempting to turn us into a socialist plutocracy.

c)  The economy is on the precipice of its next nose dive.  You better have some gold, silver and weapons hidden, or you are going to be pretty unhappy.

d) One of the only (legal) things you can do about this is to make sure to vote out every single incumbant running for office this November.  I don't care who they may be (other than Ron Paul who speaks the truth), they need to go.  Removing every single elected official will set the government corruption level back at least 10 years.  New elected officials can actually do good for a few weeks before the lobbyists and greed get to them.  However, one week of all new government officials beats any other alternative.

Pease do not re-elect anyone. 

Don't worry about Google unless you were doing something naughty in your window when they drove by.  Otherwise, it will be like when you first god MLS.  It was interesting to see what other people paid for their houses and how other people lived, but it wore off pretty quickly and should onl y be used as a tool. 

It is funny, though, that Realtors would complain about Google Street View when we have MLS which actually gives us pictures to the inside of houses which, in most cases, we have no right or reason to see.




May 27, 2010 01:51 PM #30
Nathan M
Rentec Direct Property Management Software - Grants Pass, OR
President (Rentec Direct)

Yupper, leaving your WIFI network unsecured is comperable to leaving your door wide open with a sign stating "its all free".  Fortunatly most manufacturers distribute wifi routers with passwords on by default nowdays.  For those with older routers, its best to check, or have somebody familiar with them come out and check for you to make sure your own neighbors aren't watching or recording everything you do online.

May 27, 2010 02:08 PM #31
Rob Lang
At Home Kansas - Lawrence, KS
Local Expert in Lawrence Kansas Real Estate Homes

A picture itself could catch you at a bad time... let alone stealing personal info.

May 27, 2010 04:32 PM #32
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

I agree with you, and TLW. My brother and I were one of the first suburban peoples to be featured on the local news after being carjacked. It was happening quite a bit in the city of Detroit, but mainly amongst their own. I wonder how long until we see on the news that something terrible has happened because of Google and/or FB?

May 28, 2010 10:32 AM #33
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

It only makes sense to make sure your wireless network is password protected.  And, I agree with TLW.  There's likely to be trouble some time soon.

May 28, 2010 05:37 PM #34
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

I have always made sure my router is secure.  I don't want anybody on my network but me!

Jun 01, 2010 06:08 AM #35
Bill Travis
Captain Bill Realty, LLC - Gilbert, AZ

Google street puts house pictures on the internet. Realtors also put house pictures on the internet, and have been doing that for years.

We even put pictures of the inside of the house. Google doesn't do that.

Jun 06, 2010 02:41 AM #36
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Robert Siciliano

Realty Security and Identity Theft Expert Speaker
Ping me to book a program for your group
Spam prevention