Sneaky Cops Disguise Surveillance Vehicle as Google Street View Car
The next time you find yourself in Philadelphia, you might want to look twice if you see a Google Street View car. A law enforcement vehicle masquerading as a Google Maps car was recently discovered hiding in the shadows of the Philadelphia Convention Center.
To some passersby, it might look like a normal car. But for one, a University of Pennsylvania computer and information science professor named Matt Blaze, it was anything but. Blaze caught on to undercover charade, tweeting a picture of the vehicle with the fitting opening of “WTF?”
WTF? Pennsylvania State Police license plate reader SUV camouflaged as Google Street View vehicle. pic.twitter.com/0z4yo2rVoR
— matt blaze (@mattblaze) May 11, 2016
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Along with the hinky Google Street View logo, Blaze stated that there were some official looking documents on the dashboard that suggested it was connected to some sort of law enforcement agency.
Running into a surveillance vehicle masquerading—quite poorly—as a Google Street View car is unnerving in the extreme. Talk about Big Brother watching. But it turns out, this undercover car wasn’t funded by a government agency. Instead, it has been claimed by the Philadelphia Police Department.
In a statement to Motherboard, a police department spokesperson stated: “We have been informed that this unmarked vehicle belongs to the police department; however, the placing of any particular decal on the vehicle was not approved through any chain of command. With that being said, once this was brought to our attention, it was ordered that the decals be removed immediately.”
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The police department has yet to explain while the vehicle was sporting the knock off decal, but it would make sense if they did so to avoid being recognized while operating. Needless to say, though, Google is not happy about it one bit—there has even been talk of the tech giant investigating the unauthorized use of its logo.
- Caitlin MoranEditor
A born-and-raised Jersey girl, Caitlin Moran has somehow found herself settled in Edinburgh, Scotland. When she’s not spending her days trying to remember which side of the road to drive on, Caitlin enjoys getting down and nerdy with English. She continues to combine her love of writing with her love of cars for The News Wheel, while also learning more about the European car market—including the fact that the Seat brand is pronounced “se-at” not “seat” as you might think. See more articles by Caitlin.