Google Earth Street View 2007/06/01
Google is now offering a much closer look at our world. Some folks are raising privacy concerns. As a card-carrying ACLU liberal, I'm supposed to be standing shoulder to shoulder with all my brethren in opposition to video surveillance, but I'm not.
I'm sorry. The ACLU will probably want their card back, but I just don't see this as a problem. My feeling is that if I am visible to random strangers, there's no additional loss of privacy because of cameras. If anything, I'm strongly in favor of cameras everywhere: it would help with crime.
At Is the solution for privacy openness? I said:
Sometimes I think that openness is the only final answer. If you don't have privacy anywhere, your privacy can't be abused. Your behavior might change: if you know that video cameras are watching you wherever you are, you won't be breaking littering laws. If every keystroke you type at your computer is available to the world, you aren't likely to be soliciting sex from minors.
If you are walking down a public street, I think it's reasonable to assume that you might be "on camera". I almost hate to say this, because I know it will incense my liberal peers, but if you aren't doing anything wrong, what's your problem with the surveillance camera? Other people already see you, and that might include people who know and recognize you. The camera just increases the potential.
There are parallels with Open Source here. Openness in code has obvious benefits; so does openness in the real world. Yet my bet is that the immediate reaction of most reading this will be to disagree. Right?
See also The future of biometrics in business.
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