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NY Town Stops Snooping on Homeowners With Google Earth

A town in New York has decided to stop using Google Earth to find violations by homeowners.

For two years now, the Long Island town of Riverhead has been using the popular web tool to find homeowners who built swimming pools illegally. But privacy advocates complained, and on Wednesday the Town Council decided to end the pratcice.

"They could be spying on everybody for all sorts of things," Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union told the New York Post. "We have been enforcing our laws for hundreds of years without spy satellites."

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said the program was initially implemented to recover lost revenue from illegal home extensions and pools built without permits. But the crackdown was scaled back to only pools, because of safety issues that could lead to drownings.

The program was a success from a financial standpoint -- the town collected about $75,000 in fines from nearly 250 pool owners.


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