Google Street View Backlash Is Silly

This description comes from the caption to a photograph of Ms. Kali

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

June 1, 2007

1 Min Read

With the launch of Google Maps Street View come the inevitable backlash stories. The New York Times has an article today that describes how a "Google map service can zoom in so closely on buildings that it has caused Ms. Kalin-Casey and others to complain to the company and on blogs."

This description comes from the caption to a photograph of Ms. Kalin-Casey and her cat Monty.

Note the irony: Ms. Kalin-Casey's complaint is that Google photographed her cat.In a blog post on Boing Boing and in the Times article, Ms. Kalin-Casey is quoted as saying that the issue is about where the line is between taking photos in public and zooming in on people's lives.

Welcome to life as a celebrity. Artist Andy Warhol predicted 15 minutes of fame for everyone. And now we have The Google Corollary: In the future, everyone will be watched.

On the scale of privacy invasions, Google Maps Street View ranks pretty low. It's certainly less revealing than the credit profiles financial services companies buy and sell. And it's not nearly as troubling as some stalker standing outside your house, staring.

Wait until we have Google Maps Live Street View, featuring real-time video feeds, and burglary-enablement map mashups like Then you can complain.

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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