herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Now you can peek into homes of our heroes and villains, well, most of them

I SPY: But shamed bankers escape new internet gaze

IRISH celebrities beware -- Google Maps' new application, Street View, allows anyone to snoop around and find where their idols -- or other less popular public figures -- live.

Ireland is the 25th country to have launched the tool, which has been described by some as "invasive".

The internet giant's cameras have collected images for some 51,000 miles of road over the past two years.

Now we are able to explore some of the country's most famous attractions from our homes or mobile phones.

Here, the Herald gives readers a preview of the internet tool that has caused so much controversy among advocates of privacy.

The home of reclusive Irish singer Enya seems fit for royalty with its turrets, and is only a few minutes' walk away from Bono's very private property, one of the very few mansions to not be revealed completely by this new technology.

The U2 star must be pleased that high walls, plenty of trees and commanding gates keep internet users from taking a peak at his plush pad.

Hidden

The home of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, in Drumcondra, is not so well disguised, its well-manicured gardens are there for all to admire.

However, shamed bankers Sean FitzPatrick and Michael Fingleton can rest assured that members of the public upset by the current state of the economy will not be able to find their properties that easily.

Both Wicklow homes were difficult to find on Google, Sean FitzPatrick's period property is hidden behind shrubbery while Michael Fingleton's street is not even recognised by the search engine.

A technologist with Google, Ed Parons, said anyone who wished to have their image, home, or premises removed from Street Views could do so by filling out a report on Google's website.

Objectors will then be asked for some secondary information, including a contact number, before the image is taken down by the internet giant.

hnews@herald.ie

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