Google Street View
Like many, I find a lot of what Google do very well thought out and am a big fan, however, they suffer from something that I am due to discuss in a forthcoming (public) talk on privacy, namely, a lack of comprehension of their station. The staff are too young to be able to foresee the consequences of their actions.
Did they not for a moment consider that taking photographs of private homes whose windows and curtains may just be open, not to mention every day private situations ‘in the street’, would lead to protest by the public? As an amateur photographer, I have learned how sensitive some people can be to being photographed, justifiably too. Their reasons are not the business of anyone else.
I have taken a few minutes to play with Street View, and to be frank, it is not only a massive infringement on the privacy of the individual, but in order to remain up to date (buildings are replaced, streets renamed, shop fronts altered) they will need to keep re-photographing streets. The service does of course have many positive applications, from ‘practising’ a journey before you set out, council planning and much more. All said, until each citizen has full control* over how they and their property are represented beyond the physical self, services like Street View should be disabled forthwith.
(Note: I have not included Surveillance State in the category list. That is reserved solely for government peekaboo ventures.)
*That day will come, but it has not come yet.
Fight back club: If this matter concerns you, protest to Google.
Some of what you do is cool, but you screwed up on this one. Suggest you click Undo before it’s too late.
Update: July 2009 – Google are fuzzing SOME of the faces on street view, but you can still look into windows. I confess, it is a damned useful service for pre-planning journeys etc.