Laura Haslam saw no harm in letting her children spend a hot summer day playing in the pool.
But she couldn't see the camera that captured the two young girls in the nude.
As The Sun reports, the 27-year-old mom of two from Lancashire, England, was only trying to let her two preschool-age daughters cool off. So she put a small pool in their fenced-off front yard where the girls could splash and play in safety. She told The Sun:
“It was a hot day and I put the paddling pool out at the front of the house because that’s where the sun is — but I certainly won’t be doing that again.”
The girls were playing in the nude, but Haslam had no reason to think anyone would see them. That is, until months later when a neighbor warned her that a photo of the girls was now being shared by Google.
“I couldn’t believe it when a neighbor knocked on the door and said, 'You need to look on Google maps because your kids are naked on the internet.'”
At first, Haslam says she thought her neighbor was joking. However, an online search confirmed that her three- and four-year-old daughters were plainly visible on Google Maps. The “Street View” of her home clearly showed the two young girls playing naked in their front yard.
Haslam told The Sun that someone had made a small attempt to protect the girls' identity, but their naked bodies were clearly visible:
“I was just so shocked to see it. I mean, they had their faces blurred out but it was enough for a pedophile to get a kick out of it.”
Haslam had no idea how long the image had been on the internet. She immediately contacted Google and the local police about having the image removed.
In response, the company added further blurring to the photo so that the children's bodies could no longer be seen. A Google Street View spokesperson told The Sun:
We automatically blur sensitive information like faces and vehicle license plates, and in this case, although the faces were already blurred, we applied additional blurring to the image when requested.
Haslam is glad that her daughters are no longer visibly naked online, but believes Google should go further. She said that in addition to blurring faces, the company should look for nudity:
“I know they automatically blur faces, but surely they should scan the area for naked bodies — any pervert could have looked at my kids on there. Why is it acceptable to show their bodies and not their faces?”
Haslam has kept the original image (before Google blurred the children's bodies) in case she gets involved in legal action. However, she says she has no hope of winning any case against “Google and their army of lawyers.”
Her primary concern remains her children, especially since there's no way to know who saw the unaltered photo.