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Google Earth Has Gone Too Far


Passion
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Is that someone's cat in a living room window? And a neighbor taking out the garbage? Wait ? The Battery Tunnel in Brooklyn. Haven't cameras been banned from there since 9/11? And is that a robbery in progress or just another Spider-Man wannabe? O.K., now that is really disturbing: E.T.'s ghost!?!

 

These scenes all come from the new street-level image option on Google Maps and were spotted by Web sites like Boing Boing and Wired's Compiler.

 

The new Google service offers 360-degree images of locations as seen from the ground, instead of the usual overhead satellite image and matching map. So far, it covers parts of five metropolitan areas ? San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Denver and Miami.

 

How'd Google get the images in the first place? In San Francisco, Google staffers drove vans around town for the past year snapping pictures, CNET said. In the others, Google formed a partnership with a company called Immersive Media to do something similar. The images, taken with a 11-lens camera ? are static, not real-time webcams. It is not clear how often they will be updated.

 

Even so, privacy concerns are starting to spread like wildfire. The Drudge Report, that early-warning system for democracy, is now using a screencap of someone peering out of a living room window as his top image. If that didn't scare you, the banner headline might: SMILE, YOU'RE ON GOOGLE EARTH!

 

CNET tells the story of one fellow who was caught smoking on a competing service from Amazon, revealing a secret he would like to have kept from his family. That service has shut down.

 

The article mentions some other secrets that Google could set free: "entering and leaving places like domestic violence shelters, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, fertility clinics and controversial religious or political events." Drudge cited concerns about strip clubs, adult book stores and license plates.

 

Google doesn't see a problem ? the images are of things and people that were in plain view from the street, after all ? and the company points to its easy reporting mechanism for any inappropriate images.

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/05/3...-eye-of-google/

 

I'd do whatever I could to sue if someone was going around snapping pictures of my house or whatever and putting them on Google Earth.

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Guest Night Phantom

Way too far on this one, Google. Come on. You're supposed to be our champions of privacy against the government, and now you're snapping pictures of people without their consent?

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Guest Fritz

You could see the same stuff if you used their software to find an address and drive by.

 

Crazy people will do stupid/dangerous things whether they have pictures of stuff or not.

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You could see the same stuff if you used their software to find an address and drive by.

 

Crazy people will do stupid/dangerous things whether they have pictures of stuff or not.

I personally wouldn't be worried about some psycho coming after me I just don't think close up views of my home should be accesible to millions and millions of people.

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You could see the same stuff if you used their software to find an address and drive by.

 

Crazy people will do stupid/dangerous things whether they have pictures of stuff or not.

I personally wouldn't be worried about some psycho coming after me I just don't think close up views of my home should be accesible to millions and millions of people.

 

But you dont mind the government ease dropping on your conversations.

 

:mischief

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I'm actually more okay with this than having anyone listen to my conversations. My conversations are intended to be private for the most part. When I talk on the phone, that's the expectation that I have. I have no such expectations for the front of my home...people are free to look at it whenever they want to...and I honestly don't really mind this new Google Earth feature.

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I'm actually more okay with this than having anyone listen to my conversations. My conversations are intended to be private for the most part. When I talk on the phone, that's the expectation that I have. I have no such expectations for the front of my home...people are free to look at it whenever they want to...and I honestly don't really mind this new Google Earth feature.

 

I agree with you. Anyone can drive by (or walk) by your house and see anything in plain sight. This program is just a picture of what you would see if you were at a certain point.

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Guest Night Phantom

I dont have a huge problem with it either, b/c its not the government thats doing it. The problem is when it gets so detailed that it shows people inside their homes, then you have privacy concerns.

 

But the warrantless phone taps are much worse, because thats government overstepping a person's rights.

Oh come now, just because the government isn't doing it doesn't make it right. Just makes it easier to handle.

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I dont have a huge problem with it either, b/c its not the government thats doing it. The problem is when it gets so detailed that it shows people inside their homes, then you have privacy concerns.

 

But the warrantless phone taps are much worse, because thats government overstepping a person's rights.

Oh come now, just because the government isn't doing it doesn't make it right. Just makes it easier to handle.

 

Exactly my point. What I'm saying is it isn't a constitutional issue as much as just a regulatory issue. Congress says no and google earth has to stop.

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BTW, if you try it out, it doesn't really have any neighborhood roads available, only major highways/roads. You don't really get to zoom into someones window or anything like that.

 

This was my experience, too, at least for checking out South Beach. No residential areas, only the main drags. Of course, they may choose to expand later on.

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