Google Street View Stirs Up Privacy Concerns

Street View Stirs Up Privacy Concerns  Reported by: Joce Sterman-Big Brother or Big Help??

Recently, CITYPEEK ceo, Patti Neumann was interviewed by Joce Sterman of ABC News on-the-fly about her opinion of Google's Street View that just was introduced in her hometown, Baltimore. "With facebook in the news this week on who controls privacy concerns, this is this all about Big Brother or Big Business?" Neumann explains to her bloggers?

SEE the actual interview video: http://www.abc2news.com/mediacenter/local.aspx?videoid=15341@wmar.daypor...

Is it an invasion of privacy or a public service?  That's the debate about an internet service that made its Baltimore debut just a few months ago.  ABC2 News Investigator Joce Sterman shows us how Google Street View gives the world more than just a glimpse at your front door.

In this day and age it doesn't take much to dig up dirt on you.  With a simple search on the World Wide Web, you can find tons of information on just about anyone.  Baltimore businesswoman Patti Neumann knows that well.  She tells ABC2, "One of the beauties about the internet is also one of the most terrifying, which is privacy."

Neumann does everything she can to protect that privacy, keeping her personal life off the web as much as she can.  But what she didn't realize is something very personal is already out there.

Neumann's house, her street and even the cars out front are available for everyone to see on the internet.  And it's not just a still snapshot or satellite view from miles away.

Instead, you can type in a Baltimore city address and you'll find 360 degree street views.  It’s all courtesy of Google Street View, which is being used in more than 200 American cities.  Baltimore was added to the list back in November.

But experts say it’s not always a technology blessing.

University of Maryland Law Professor Danielle Citron says, “There's almost no recourse, at least for Street View.  There is no way in which we can force Google to take it down.  They may help us if we say we're uncomfortable, but they don't have to."  Google also blurs faces and license plates captured by the feature, which uses photographs and not real-time video.

The company says the images are taken on public streets and are no different from what the average person could observe at street level.

As for the images captured of her home, Patti Neumann hopes Google will understand her discomfort and take them down.  She says, “I know people love to see these views of their house but one thing leads to another and it gets into hands it shouldn't."  And some fear those hands that could use this navigational tool to steer straight to your front door.

Google Street View is available in more than 200 American cities as well as many others abroad.  But getting the images needed for that feature is no easy task.  

A Google spokeswoman tells ABC2 that a small fleet of standard cars is dispatched to capture the needed images.  The drivers go up and down public roads, using a camera with mutliple lenses mounted on the roof. 

The collection takes about a month according to the company.  And when they're done, the images are then stitched together in an attempt to give a 360 degree view of various addresses. 

As for Baltimore, a crew was dispatched several months ago to get the pictures needed to bring the city on-line.  Google says the Charm City was one of the most highly requested cities.

Comments

I was so disturbed over google doing this, but to make matters worse , on huffington post during last years primary I donated to a candidate, they posted on their political site a map to your house, what would have happened if you had been injured by a person with adverse thoughts!