google_street.html © June 2007 Anthony Lawrence All Rights Reserved

Google Earth Street View

Google Earth Street View


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.



Comments /Opinion/google_street.html

Thu Feb 11 01:00:47 2010   TonyLawrence

I can only suggest you go back and read more carefully.

Thu Feb 11 01:21:17 2010 street view  artistonhpvs

artistonhpvs is actually >>. artist on human powered vehicles...there is another meaning for's a disease...I could've used .>artistonbents (recumbents)....

anyway, I have absolutely no problem with google street view. I neither have problem with 24/7 cameras.

I want google street view to go a lot further including alley ways and inside places with owners permission (of course)...

I wish I could have employment to aid in this. I also like to view every city and town presently NOT listed. I am a cyclist and would very much enjoy the privilege having one of those high tech cameras as i cycle...


Thu Feb 11 00:57:13 2010 privacy issues  anonymous

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.

Oh, come on! What about personal ac countability! I don't need or want people looking over my shoulder - especially the arrogant jack asses who think they know what is best for everyone else. I really don't need the help of control freaks telling me how to live!

Sat Feb 13 15:02:02 2010 change is an inescapable reality and so is street view  ismail

(your comments go here) Conscience is the feeling of being constantly watched by others. This is a feeling that has become a fact through the technology of goggles street view.

Sat Feb 13 22:08:47 2010 being watched  artistonhpvs

I find google street far more a search tool and see things as they were then. Remember, what U see isn't real time. So how can any1 justify we are constantly being watched?...
here's something I find frustrating for my own good....landmarks destroyed but even though I did capture my own pics of just few of them, to view back in time many are still there on google unfortunately blocked by traffic & some streets aren't even shown(including some cities)....
I used street view to seek a job location or to prove a place I have been....

Wed Apr 14 04:40:00 2010   anonymous

i don't like authority or control. but i do think people should be in control of themselves. Folks should be able to do as they please, as long as it doesn't adversly effect others/community. People should be mindful enough to do what they want and not put negativity into what they do. There will always be a need for "outside" control, but as people we should be able to keep that to a minimum. Police yourself and not others

Wed Apr 14 11:07:15 2010   TonyLawrence

Police yourself and not others

has nothing to do with privacy per se and definitely has no relevance to Google Street View.

Fri Apr 23 17:26:27 2010   anonymous

Cameras everywhere may be fine for those fog breathers on the other side of the Atlantic, but we don't take kindly to surveillance here. There need to be privacy laws enacted that these devices cannot be within zoom lens of a residential structure. And google is going to suffer the wrath of an angry internet if they invade our privacy. Ever piss off 4chan? Collecting mac addresses will do it. I do not justify -their- behaviors (4chan's), either, but when you mess with the hive, you're bound to get the bees.

Fri Apr 23 17:31:31 2010   TonyLawrence

Exactly what "privacy" do you have on a public street?

Mon Jun 7 15:04:26 2010 Sleight of hand?  Al

In the past I have used Google Earth to look at an area where I am going to get a birds eye view.

Stuff like alternate routes, bodies of water, just how far those wood extend etc.
Google earth has made some additions. Something called street view, whereby you can actually go to street level.
Pretty cool, I got a view of my house as it stand on the street. I was able to pan up,down and a full 360 degrees around.
I remember seeing a story about it and how they have this vehicle that has cameras all around cruising our city streets.
They went on to say their goal was complete coverage, yeah well right.

This wonderful new addition comes with a heavy price.
Before this was added I could zoom in and recognize my car sitting in the lot.
Recently I tried to look at the same area, it was difficult to tell the difference between a trailer and an empty pad. Let alone what type of vehicle you were looking at.

I wasn't surprised, as often when you appear to get more of something
it costs somewhere else.

The surprise came when I chose other satellite image sites and the resolution was just as bad. So its not just limited to Google but access to all satellite images.

Hey it's real cool, to be able to go to street level and look around but how often are those updates going to come if ever?
And you are limited to the street and of course only certain streets.

So now we get to seem more of something that will very quickly become out dated and a whole less less resolution in general.

So why does somebody want to limit the average Jone's view from above?

Sun Jun 20 15:01:28 2010 dog poo  eunice
Website: yahoo mail

i would welcome cameras in our aera as it would catch the people who are letting their dogs poo on foot paths where i have to walk with my grandchildren especialy on amonday morning and young mothers with prams shouting at children watch your feet

Mon Jun 21 13:07:09 2010   BigDumbDInosaur

I doubt that Google is interested in catching dogs and their owners with bad manners.

Fri Oct 14 16:42:07 2011   bchopper

i strongly agree with you with what your saying even though many would hate that fact, i still stand to it .. although imagine... in 20 years all the best photos will be random lucky snaps taken from Google earth .. it seems being in the photography profession just got sucky