10 April 2008

Google Maps Street View

Got any privacy concerns? Well, if you do then you will need to get 'em sorted out as Google is coming to get ya through its Google Maps "Street View" service! Google does not see any privacy concerns here as the vehicles that take these happy snappies are very easily identified in the sense that they are decked out in the Google colours with a roof mounted camera!

Besides, and as Google claims, any content that people find invades their privacy or is inappropriate they can ask that Google take it down or remove it from the site. However, as fair as this might sound on face value, even an inexperienced Internet user will be able to tell you that once the image is uploaded the damage is already done! Indonesians should be acutely aware of this with the latest attempts of the Indonesian government to prevent the spread of Geert Wilders film into Indonesia.

Yet, there are other issues aside from the fact that Google is hiding behind the claim that it is only filming in public places and the very definition of a public place is that it is sans privacy. The question is where does the public domain start and the private domain end.

Can Google photograph someone in their car in their driveway or the parking lot of a shopping centre...perhaps in common and civil law jurisdictions lawyers with expertise in trespass are about to get plenty of work or so it would seem? What about where people who need to be protected from having their identities released, particularly a whistle blower or someone else in a witness protection program. An extreme and perhaps one of those rare to never happenings but even with the odds against it there is still that slim chance...then what? Google takes the image down and apologizes? Damage done! Google is being sued already for alleged invasions of privacy through the use of this service -- let's see how that plays out and then perhaps more definitive statements might be made on the privacy concerns.

In any event the rapid spread of mobile phone technology with camera and video capabilities should have educated people that they will need to be more vigilant with their conduct in both public and private places. This technology means that there is a budding Scorsese in all of us just waiting for that 15 minutes of grainy 3gp fame!


GJ said...

Hey Rob

The 1st Pic is no Britney Spears Kodak Moment LOL :-) you need to try harder


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