Sunday, 22 March 2009

Google Is Not The Enemy

Google releases the UK version of StreetView and suddenly every "privacy expert" appears criticising it for it's "intrusion" into people's private lives. Doesn't anyone see that they are simply using the story for self promotional reasons? If they had truly cared they would have been camped outside Google's UK HQ months ago as we KNEW THIS WAS COMING!

If you are reading this then you are probably fairly net savvy and thus almost certainly had already messed around with the US version of StreetView. Surely anyone who cares about privacy concerns would have been well aware of it too. But no one uttered a peep until the release actually occured. Grr...

Worse still is the utter pointlessness of the argument. "Google's pictures could help robbers". Erm, couldn't said robbers just take digital pics themselves if they really wanted to? "Google's pictures invade people's privacy". Since when has a public place been able to offer privacy? "Google pictures show naked children". Yes, and Google removed these pictures, but the parents didn't complain. Why would they, they let their children run around in public naked!

The Government loses our data, sells it, and keeps constant track of us on CCTV. Do you really think Google is going to be concerned when we let our own Government get away scot free with this flagrant abuse? Worse some people even support the Government's erosion of our rights in the cause of security. Google on the other hand is doing nothing more than your average joe does when they upload their hoiday snaps to Facebook for all to see.

Are those complaining about Google stating they are wrong to take pictures in public places without everyone who is involved giving permission?? Oops can't upload this picture to Facebook as Mr Jone's didn't give permission and the corner of his house can just been seen in it. Are they complaining because they make money of it? Just like Facebook and like everyone who prints tourist information leaflets with pictures of sun drenched high streets and estate agents who use pictures of rows of houses as one of them is for sale. Are we saying they shouldn't do it?

What's worse is the people really complaining and removing pictures are those with things to hide... throwing up in public, or coming out of a sex shop. Well they aren't really things to hide unless you're really behind the times but you know what I mean... some people are a bit iffy like that.

Personally, unlike the selling of my data by the Government or the "protection" afforded me by CCTV, I think StreetView will really be useful; helping me orient myself before I arrive at a new place and for that I thank Google.

Down with the Nanny State, long live the freedom to take pictures of people in public places doing inappropriate things!

1 comment:

apples said...

I agree that it can be very convenient knowing what a neighbourhood looks like. As for you argument that criminals could take pictures of anything in a given neighbourhood themselves - yes they could. They could drive or walk up and down a street taking pictures of every single house to see who was in and what it looks like. Would it seem suspicious that a stranger did that? Yes. Would it seem suspicious that a stranger saw the same thing online? No. You wouldn't know about it.

As for "you'd already know about it, go protest at their headquarters" - I'm in Bergen, Norway, and we didn't know anything until they started driving around this week.

I don't have any problems with people taking pictures of my house, but I understand and respect why others do. Protests won't stop anything, and I don't mind that; but people should be able to express their opinion without being ridiculed.

Then again, we do live in a society where having an opinion usually means those who don't have a free pass to do anything.