We have all been wowed by the new Street View functionality in Google Maps – I was thinking of the great benefits this could have for local businesses – potential customers can now visit your storefront before they ever see you in person! Others, however, are increasingly concerned about the privacy issues this new service raises.
For those who aren’t yet aware of the service, Google Street View offers 360 degree panoramic images of various streets around several major U.S. capitals, and Google hopes this will expand to include other cities, and even countries. Privacy issues have been raised as, unlike Google Earth, Google Street View enables you to make out individuals, sitting in parks, on their verandahs, going into shops and so on. Does anyone have the right to photograph us and post our picture on the net – Google say ‘yes’, as all the images were taken in “public areas”.
Lars Rasmussen, the Google Developer responsible for Street View states
“…these are all images that anyone could go out and take with a camera. We do take great care that if someone did feel their privacy was invaded, there is a way that they can easily tell us about it and we’ll remove it right away. But all the pictures are taken in public areas where anyone could go [and] take a picture.”
The hunt is now on for the funny, weird and wonderful pictures of people caught in the wrong place or time, in an awkward moment or doing things they just shouldn’t! Dare I say that this could be attributing to the concerns, as we all start to wonder whether we could be caught on camera in a compromising position!