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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Convenience or invasion of privacy?

The newly released Google Street View is already generating controversy. The service is a new feature of Google Maps where you can plug in an address and zoom in enough where you can clearly see buildings, cars and even people within the vicinity. Unfortunately, the zoom seems to also provide a little too much perspective as in the case with Mary Kalin-Casey, who complained to Boing Boing that when she typed in her address, she could clearly see her cat sitting in her window. She believes the service in this case violated her privacy.

"I'm all for mapping, but this feature literally gives me the shakes," she wrote. "I feel like I need to close all my curtains now. I'm going to look into whether it's possible for a person to have pictures of their home removed from Google Maps. Meanwhile, I'm happy to show bb readers the photo in the interest of illustrating creepy privacy violations. Heck, the whole world can see him anyway."

One of the Google Street images caught by Wired Magazine

One Wired blog has already collected images of people picking their noses, police attending to a fatality, a man climbing into an apartment block, and a possible drug deal. You can see the Big Brother in this? What if the government decides to type in your address, zooms in, sees what's in your living room, what you're watching on TV? Just something to think about.

In response, Google says the images are no different than what people see in their daily lives, and claims the website is equipped with "easily accessible tools for flagging inappropriate or sensitive imagery for review and removal." Yeah, but flagging comes after the fact. So for all of you back-to-nature folk who like to prance around nude in your living room, and don't want your images picked up by some internet site, note that you have been warned.

Well, if you happen to type in my address (that is, if you know it), and you see a robed woman standing near a window with a barbecue chicken wing in one hand and a diet root beer in the other, yes that would be me. Thankfully, I don't do nude and I don't pick my nose.

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Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 6/02/2007 09:43:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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