Google Maps Street View: A Tool For Pedophiles?

A group called <a href="">Stop Internet Predators</a> claims that <a href="">Google Maps Street View</a> endangers children. I find that loopy.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

September 10, 2008

1 Min Read

A group called Stop Internet Predators claims that Google Maps Street View endangers children. I find that loopy.The group's missive to the media says:

Google maps 'Street View' application allows anyone to view high resolution images of homes and schools, images that in some cases include children playing outside. Many times parents are unaware such applications exist and are therefore unable to protect their families accordingly.

Although images are not live, Google Street View can memorialize a minor's photograph in association with a physical address without parental consent for all on the Internet to see. Stop Internet Predators urges parents to call for a ban on Street View in their communities until the technology is safeguarded to protect their children's privacy.

Nobody likes a pedophile, but just because a pedophile could use Street View doesn't mean it should be banned. By that standard, we should ban cameras, video cameras, Webcams, and the Internet. And that's to say nothing of cars and phone books.

After receiving the press release from Stop Internet Predators, I e-mailed the group to ask whether there's a single documented case of a pedophile using Google Street View to target children.

I haven't heard back and I expect I won't.

Looking at the list of the group's supporters, I don't see any of Google's major competitors, but when someone puts out something like this, it makes me wonder.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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