Government surveillance for good.

Remember my tree?

I had to have a talk with the city department of Forestry today. We had received a letter lecturing us about the heritage tree ordinance, and stating that several neighbors had complained about our removing the tree. (The department had checked Google Street View and determined that the tree was most probably not large enough to be a heritage tree.)

The Forestry guy was nice. He was sheepish about the letter and apologized for the tone. For my part, I explained that the tree was not a heritage tree (the trunk was not large enough) and that it had fallen over, threatening to damage our neighbor’s property. We agreed that the neighbors probably thought it was a heritage tree because it had a magnificent canopy. I explained that we were all heartsick about the tree coming down.

At one point during the conversation, he said cheerily “Google Street View is great.” Well…

On one hand, Google Street View means I don’t have to fight City Hall over whether the mimosa fit the requirements of the heritage tree ordinance. On the other hand, I find it creepy. I always knew people could look at the front of my house through Street View, but only in an abstract, “yeah it’s there but who’s going to care?” way. But in this case, someone used Street View for an actual purpose.

I wonder who else might be looking?

This entry was posted in My life and times, The Internet and its perils. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Government surveillance for good.

  1. Geri says:

    Wow. Perhaps I should post something to the MLN list explaining why we removed the about to topple dangerously tree…

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