Google Street View removes houses of controversial UK celebrities

Paul McCartney, Tony Blair and Fred Goodwin are just some of the celebrities and notable personalities to have their houses blurred or removed from Google's Street View.

The fronts of these celebrities' houses have been altered in order to preclude the chance of criminals using the popular street viewing service to plan protests, robberies or acts of vandalism.

Google Street View already blurs the faces of people it captures on its way, and also the license plates of cars.

One of the most controversial removals is that of disgraced former leader of RBS Fred Goodwin. Goodwin presided over RBS's rapid rise to global prominence, and its even more rapid fall as RBS was forced into effective nationalisation in 2008. Goodwin's knighthood, awarded in 2004 for "services to banking", was "cancelled and annulled" in 2012. Around this time he gained the nickname "Fred the Shred" from City financiers, reflecting a reputation for ruthlessly generating cost savings and efficiencies.

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Street View users are able to approach the street on which Goodwin's £3.5 million mansion is situated; however, they are stopped just outside Goodwin's home.

Google hasn't confirmed whether or not Goodwin had himself asked for the image to be blocked from the site, but they did say that in "compelling cases" they were able to remove images of certain people's houses.

The blurring and removal of celebrity homes from the site comes just weeks after Google legally acknowledged users "right to be forgotten", which has caused increasing controversy.

People who would like to blur Street View images of their properties can now report the images to Google, who then decide on whether the image should be altered or removed. Google said: "We provide easily accessible tools allowing users to request further blurring of any image that features the user, their family, their car or their home."