Google has run into a spot of privacy bother with the Swiss roll-out of its all-seeing Street View, with the country's head of federal data protection demanding it be shut down just days after it went online last Tuesday. According to Hans-Peter Thür, "many faces and car registration plates were clearly visible or were …
Bad joke warning - you've been warned
So I guess Friday was Thür's day.
WTF, so street view has been in the UK for ages and they still have not blured all faces and reg numbers, (they have problems with the back of white vans). Was this not a hint that _maybe_ when the Swiss version went live the same thing would not happen?
--Paris, Because even she don't think that software will just magically fix its self this time
I really wish Google wouldn't blur street signs, as that makes finding out the actual road name rather hard given the often erroneous TeleAtlas data. Usually a few hops back and a bit of zooming is sufficient to read such. Yet they already have most of the street names. Surely it wouldn't be too hard to avoid obscuring them?
I was snapped by Google whilst driving and minding my own business. Now suddenly available for the whole world to see me picking my nose. The burden should not be for me to request my nice green bogeys to be removed from public view but rather for Google to ensure they remain private and do not offend anyone. Fortunately for me I wasn't picking anyone else's bits at the time of the photo.
"...but insisted the company attached "the greatest importance to data protection and respected the laws on the country in which it was working"."
Matthias, I don't want to worry you, but your nose is growing longer, and your trousers appear to have burst into flames.
Can I be the first to say
That I really don't car if my face, car registration numbers or the colour of my living room wall paper is visible on street view. Just how likely is it that anyone would actually caught out. The bigger these databases get the more unlikely it is that you would even be found by someone who knows you.
I really don't understand this pointless obsession with general privacy. Yes I can understand that if you are Paris Hilton you might actually not want your house on street view, or if you had a Picasso in the living room you might not want streetview to pick it up. But how the hell will anybody find you if they don't already have a very good idea where to look.
There is a picture of my car outside my house, but then I don't live there anymore, and don't own the car any more, you might ask the question, how long would the picture be of any significance anyway.
Ha ha ha
Very good Reg, very good.
Why do google not check with a country first whether or not their privacy laws will allow streetview! It would save them a lot of money and driving around time. They deserve everything they get!
By far the most common objection to street view seems to be a fear of ne'erdowells casing your property. The curious thing about this is that streetview gives you a view that's pretty much available to anybody passing.*
Other services such a Google Earth and better yet the Bird's Eye feature on Multimap/Bing give a much better view if you fancy breaking into a property since they give views that aren't available from the public higway. Strangely I've never heard similar objections to those services.
As for the blurring of numberplates and faces I have yet to hear a good argument in favour of this. Why would anybody care if their face is visible, unless of course they fear it may steal a little bit of their soul? And numberplates? What's the problem there?
If you don't sort them out properly now, they'll be back later for more.
"The bigger these databases get the more unlikely it is that you would even be found by someone who knows you."
That would be true if everyone were trawling through the entire database to look but you neglect that Street View is a geographically linked service. It's very easy to go looking around your local area in the service so in effect it increases the chances if people being "caught out" (whatever they might be doing) by someone they know.
Not many people shown on Streetview
Maybe it's different elsewhere, but, in the areas I've investigated closely, Streetview shows almost no possibly-recognizable people: downtown Washington DC, downtown Rochester, NY, Rhode Island Avenue/US Rt. 1 from downtown Washington out into Maryland. Whenever these were streetviewed, there seems to have been almost no one out and about.
How Google arranges this, I dunno. Sometimes I've wondered if they specialize in Sunday mornings. OTOH, there's a fair amount of traffic shown, so maybe Murricans just don't walk very much.
No people, no privacy problem.
Yet in other areas it works very well. Try wandering around the more dubious parts of Belfast, the ones with giant wall murals of assorted terrorists. Streetview blurs them nicely :)
Street View vs ANPR
So which Big Brother is the worst? Street View where there is a slender chance of you being snapped somewhere you'd not wish to be snapped but can also be useful or ANPR cameras which are sneaking up on us daily as more and more CCTV systems are subverted so that they can record our absolute position on any given day at any given time and follow our journeys as our masters wish?
Especially in light of the recent report that, on average, each 1,000 CCTV cameras solve 1 crime per year!
Swiss Roll, Jam
Good redtop headline, Reg :-)
Some sub-ed somewhere is pleased with himself today :-)
Those crazy Swissies!
Privacy, yes we must protect the privacy of all those often dodgy, sometimes immoral and possibly illegal private bank accounts and safety deposit boxes....
We don't want any pics of Herr Himmlerfratzellsmidth depositing his ill-gained loot in the bank!
AC of course.
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