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‘Couldn’t believe it;’ Parent concerned, says Google didn’t blur children enough on Street View map

CLEMMONS, North Carolina — A parent is upset with Google for not blurring her child and her neighbor’s children enough on its Street View map.

Chas Elratrout reached out to our sister station in Charlotte after she saw one of her daughters and her neighbor’s son and daughter on Google Street View. While Google had blurred their faces, she felt that it was not blurred enough.

“I couldn’t believe it. I went to look myself and there was my child and my neighbor’s children,” Elratrout said. “They are indeed on the Internet with our address for the whole world to see which I think is just awful. I couldn’t believe it.

She says she emailed Google to fix the issue, but she couldn’t get it resolved on her own.

“I would never go up a street and take a picture of anybody’s kids like that and put it out there for the whole world to see with their address,” Elratrout said. “To me, that’s an invasion of privacy really, especially for minors.”

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Google says on its website it “takes a number of steps to protect the privacy of individuals when Street View imagery is published to Google Maps.”

It also says “We have developed cutting-edge face and license plate blurring technology that is designed to blur identifiable faces and license plates within Google-contributed imagery in Street View. If you see that your face or license plate requires additional blurring, or if you would like us to blur your entire house, car, or body, submit a request using the ‘Report a problem’ tool.

A reporter with our sister station, Jason Stoogenke reported the issue on behalf of Elratrout and her neighbor. After checking a day or two later, Google had blurred the children to where you couldn’t recognize the neighbor’s kids.

However, after moving the cursor around to rotate the shot, they found you could still make out Elratrout’s daughter. After a second request, a day or two later the issue was fixed.

Our sister station reached out to Google for a statement but hasn’t heard back, however, when they submitted the requests Google sent auto replies saying “Privacy and security are important to us, and your input helps us make Google Maps better for everyone.”

The best advice is to search your own address and check every angle, if you have any concerns, submit a report.

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