A man's home may be his castle, but few of us -- even celebrities -- have moats these days to protect our privacy. That was true long before the "bling ring" allegedly used the Internet to case the cribs of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Nor did thieves have to wait for the invention of Google maps to reconnoiter neighborhoods in search of easily accessible homes.
That's worth remembering if, as we fear, some legislator decides that a law should be passed to prevent Internet surfers from looking at houses they easily could scope out from the sidewalk. Although we agree with Los Angeles Police Cmdr. Pat Gannon that the online dissemination of personal information, including the location and size of one's home, can be frightening, there's nothing new about it. Passersby have always been able to stroll by a house and study the height of its window sills, and Hollywood royalty has long had to cope with gawkers outfitted with maps of the stars' homes. Unless you've imprisoned yourself in a gated community, the exterior of your house is fair visual game, as it always has been. A law against photographing a home or what occurs outside it in plain sight -- or disseminating the images to others -- would be overreaching, not to mention unconstitutional.