Google’s mapping service just introduced a new feature called “Street View,” offering detailed photos of addresses in San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Denver and Miami. While the company might not be breaking any privacy laws, the service raises concerns that need to be addressed.
The photographs are not live and were taken from a device with multiple cameras attached to a car that drove down each available street. The problem for some is that the cameras took photos of people not expecting to be photographed and broadcast across the Net. There are photos of women sunbathing at Stanford University, a man caught urinating in San Bruno, Calif., and a very clear picture of a woman’s thong underwear as she was getting into her truck.
Google argues that the photos are “no different from what any person can readily capture or see walking down the street.” That’s true if you can see the image for a few minutes and then it disappears, or if it is a random photo from a camera phone posted online. However, that’s not how it works.
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