About privacy? Not really.
>>>Ah, but it *is* the issue. There is a fundamental difference between an individual taking pictures for personal use (whatever that might be), and a representative of a company taking pictures AND PUBLISHING THEM for commercial use.
>>>The publication and the purpose of use is where privacy becomes a fundamental aspect of this issue.
If the issue is in the commercial use of the photos, then it cannot be a privacy issue. Example: I take pictures and post them on my personal website and label them public domain. Your "privacy" is just as "violated" but I have not used the photos for commercial purposes. No, you're not after privacy, you're after a cut of the profits. Those are two wholly separate issues.
>>>Didn't the couple say that the drive to their house was marked "Private" and on their land? In that case, it was *not* a government owned street, the spyccar was not "just catching people in public doing whatever" - Google (actually, the driver) was breaking the law.
Now, I don't know UK law, but in US law, it doesn't matter if you're in your backyard and that your backyard is private property. As long as I am on public property, I can point my camera any direction I choose and snap away.
>>>The thing is, these cameras aren't restricted or filtered purely to public places, they drive past homes and if you happen to have no nets on those curtains and are walking around your own home naked...
Nothing stops me from standing on the street watching you, and it's completely legal. If you're doing something where someone on public property could see you, you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Regarding height of hedges, in the US, it's not uncommon for paparazzi to climb a tree near a house to take pictures over the hedge. This is completely legal. Trashy and lacking class, but legal.
People have gone over the hedge (badum!) with privacy. Yes, you are entitled to privacy, but not everywhere you think you are. Like when you have sex in a hotel room in Vegas. Guess what - you're on video. The only place they don't have cameras is in the bathrooms. You're at the mall in a tight skirt - there is nothing illegal about someone affixing a camera to their shoe and recording video up your skirt. The admittedly strange law in the US is that the video can't contain the subjects voice, or something equally odd. The point is, when you're in public, or when you are visible some public spaces (or from someone else's private property) you are not entitled to privacy. So you want to shag your patio furniture and think your 7 foot hedge is enough to give you a reasonable expectation of privacy from people on the street. What about people in the multi-level across the street?? What about people in nearby low flying aircraft? What about cameras mounted on big tripods on top of cars?
Don't be stupid.