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back to article Privacy watchdog hoists Google by its own petard

In an effort to prove that Google is a serious threat to the personal privacy of people everywhere, the National Legal and Policy Center has exposed countless Google Street View pics that detail what are likely the home, cars, and daily commute of top Google executive Larry Page. Responding to Google's addled defense of Street …

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It's moist

after the gooey mess which is all that is left when your big barrel of boomies goes off in your hands.

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Paris Hilton

@More Irony

http://drenaud.com/photofriday/symbol.jpg

Great Photo I have to say.

If you did in fact get to sneak a few of the the Google Campus of the same quality you could probably sell them for advertising purposes!!!

I'm sure it's actually moist not hoist foist or joist btw!

Paris, because of the completely transparent reference to moistness!!

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WTG I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects!

Yet again it's proven that the best way of hijacking a thread on El Reg is to post something that will bring the pedants out en masse. A third of the comments so far (including this one) have absolutely nothing to do with the article, instead pointing out something known by anyone who stayed awake for more than three minutes in high school.

Well done!

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Alien

Google, remember this:

if you peer overlong into the abyss, sooner or later the abyss will peer into you.

Alien, because of the Area 51-like security Google needlessly employs.

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too many

Too many damn pedants, not enough beer.

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private public privacy

Woman takes top off on public beach = woman having fun and relaxing

woman photographed with top off on public beach = punch in nose / you pervert / invasion of privacy.

You can not expect privacy in areas where the general public or passersby could easily view your activities. If so, we would never see pictures of celebs picking their noses.

You don't even have the right to privacy in your own home, if you are in an area (no curtains) where the general public or passersby could easily view your activities.

If you disagree with this hypothesis, you can test it by standing in front of a window while masterbating. Repeat as necessary.

If these people win, the "I did not have sex with that patio table" guy should get a load? of cash from the media, for invading his private (and intimate) moment with his patio furniture.

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Linux

Welcome to the open source world.

In the open source world there is no need for privacy because everything is open and all information is free. Better to have this informations available freely on the web rather than have it recorded and hidden in a vault somewhere that only MI5, NSA and big corps can access it.

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Anonymous Coward

Jolly interesting but why do they do it?

Well, all that Shakespeare stuff was jolly interesting of course but didn't we go off track just a little bit ? (pun there I think).

Has anybody else wondered why on earth (!) Google would be spending vast sums of money taking pictures of every street on the planet, especially when it seems nobody wants them anyway? Possibly major capital cities for tourism purposes, but the average residential street?

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Unhappy

Google toilet cam

How long before they start lurking in the loo?

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Anonymous Coward

A public place...

...is exactly that. If you are in a public place, you are public and forego any claims to privacy - unless you are accosted or embarrassed in some other way.

What I want to know is if I am standing in my bedroom watching a young lady undress in the bedroom acrosss the street - who is at fault? Undressing with the curtains open could be construed as indecent exposure whereas sunbathing nude on a naturist beach is not. Watching somebody undress could be construed as voyerism.

If Google photographs that same young lady - as it might well do - is this not also voyerism. Is it all that different from installing peecams in public toilets?

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@Simpson and his private public

Simpson doesn't have to stand in front of the window to get caught by Google, if he looks up he'll see Ceiling Cat watching him already.

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@ A public place

"Watching somebody undress could be construed as voyerism."

Waddya mean *could* be? You posit "... standing in my bedroom watching a young lady undress in the bedroom acrosss the street ..." How else would you describe that? (Where are you posting the pics, BTW?)

"...peecams in public toilets?"

You seem to have the jargon off pat. Obvious where you're coming from ;)

As I said above, 'Do no evil' is a sick joke in the age of Google streetcam, satelite cam and - possibly - the predicted 'peecam'.

PS: I don't want to be left out - it's hoist, not foist.

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Hoisted Gates And Dud Bills.

Really?

This is good at my age to achieve fame for not being pedantic. As for my correctness, I'd like to know how a medieval gate is hoist and for what purpose in an attack on a stronghold by an incvading army.

They lift the gate up do they? Presumably the gate will be lifted up out of its channels and not come down on top of the invaders?

And the sources you have all quoted at me seem to be describing a torpedo, a kind of weapon these days called a mine

And a mine in those days was a shaft cut to undermine a wall. A petard may well have been a variety of torpedo but I doubt the idea was to hoist a gate.

Maybe we should all question the veracitysagacity of Mr Shakespeare's copy editor. If I was a pedant, I might even consider doing so myself.

When you pass a dud check onto someone, you foist it off ON to them. You throw it over and in the good old days before Isaac Newton sorted things out you threw down the people who you passed the forgery onto.

(There not being a golden refund for pre credit carders.)

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Alert

No, really, it's HOI-- Ohh, wait...

I was going to comment on the Hoist thing, but OG, John Latham, GettinSadda, Ron Eve, Russ Williams, Eddie Edwards, Rob, Smudger, James Pickett, Jim Lewis, Graham Dawson, Warren and a bunch of Anon Cowards beat me too it. Good job I read the comments, otherwise I'd have looked silly!

I don't really see what the big deal is here. It just saves someone going out and taking the pictures themselves...

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Not stating the obvious

Why isn't that car covered in adverts?

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And?

There is nothing in street view that you couldn't get by simply visiting the location yourself. Does that mean that the privacy lobby want us all to travel round with our eyes shut.

The privacy lobby demonstrate the same grasp as perspective as does Father Dougal when it comes to cows.

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@A Public Place

Thanks Jason and Jolyon.

Many of the legal (US) and ethical issues in photography are discussed in "Legal Handbook for Photographers" by Bert P. Krages. As one might expect, the issues are complex. For starters, there is a body of law concerning the right to photograph and another concerning the use of images. Personally, I ask permission before photographing humans and get model/property releases if I anticipate using an image for financial gain.

The situtation with Google street view is novel and it will be interesting to see how the law evolves. Personally, I like the idea of street view and hope that some accomodation is reached that balances privacy issues with utility. Before traveling to unknown commercial and residential neighborhoods, I have used SV to get a clue. Also, I have used it in my blog to show where an image was taken. Here is an example. (warning: it's a streaker pic)

http://drenaud.blogspot.com/2008/04/far-from-home.html

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Paris Hilton

@Not enough beer

What is this "Enough Beer" of which you speak?

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Happy

I am getting a bit ploisted bye all off this

In linuxtoday there was this story:

Editor's Note: Is Google Evil, or Just Naughty?

http://www.linuxtoday.com/infrastructure/2008080103135OP

The way I se it is that every "gold rush" comes to its end.

Soon "the State" will stop not only military stuff but official buildings and areas where they live themselves from beeing exposed bye the likes of Google.

In a while Google will show a world with more white areas than a 16th century map.

Meanwhile Google will ploister all the gold in that mine.

The only thing that makes me ploister is the fact that BG was too dumb to ploister that gold.

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Ian
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@ Hoisted Gates And Dud Bills

dude, think about it! the bomber accidentally gets very hoist against the tunnel roof when the petard goes off. If the damn thing is used correctly it doesn't just lift the gates, it blows the things to bits. As a pedant you should know better! Where in the quote does it say "the gate was hoist a bit and then fell down again". Time to stop digging - the whole you've put yourself in is quite deep enough!

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Joke

@Luther Blisset

It is. They've been redacted by XXXXX XXXX.

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Happy

mars attacks ?

Has no-one twigged that I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects is just a reincarnation of amanfrommars ? Not heard from 'him' on this thread yet :-)

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Stop

Obvious

Surely the real point to all this scaremongering and over reaction is....

All of this information is available offline. Here's how you get it:

You walk down the street!

Is someone going to complain that you use your eyes now?

Seriously, all this "my god what a security breech" stuff is 99% utter rubbish. If someone is hell bent on stealing from you - they will, and if you take down street view - they'll just do something crazy like, er, drive down your street!

Has google earth made crime figures rise? No. Will street view? No...

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Doublethink

There is a set of people that are clamouring for the rights of photographers to take photographs in public places without harassment and another demanding that Google stop taking photographs of public streets as it is an invasion of privacy. I wonder how many are in both sets.

For the record, I am in the first set but not the second.

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Anonymous Coward

Totally petarded.

>I'd like to know how a medieval gate is hoist and for what purpose

>in an attack on a stronghold by an incvading army.

The gate isn't, for 'tis the engineer who is hoist by his own petard.

Also there is no purpose, it describes an accident, or in the literary context - sabotage.

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Go

There has never been any privacy

Why do we assume we have always had privacy? Don't you geeks know any gossips? A well known gossip in a small town can easily keep track of 2000 or more people and the amount of details they know will be astonishing. All technology has done is allowed some geeks to keep up with the more traditional techniques.

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JCL

Oh, I don't know.

@Welcome to the open source world. - Better to stab me in the leg than in the eyes. No, better to not stab me at all.

I've learnt a couple of things today: redaction - the art of bringing info together and editing it to make it look as if it all came from the same source - I've done this from time to time at work - a couple of decades ago I might have done it at uni - but then it was a hop skip and a jump away from plagiarism. ploister - not sure about this - googled it, but nothing's come back. Finally hoist by his own petard. When I was much younger I thought it was hoist by his own tabard. I had visions then of caterers & shop workers being pulled up by their clothing.

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Anonymous Coward

@JCL

JCL, I don't think redaction is about the sources being merged, as it were. The definitions I've seen are all 'to prepare for publication.' The source thing *would* be nearer to plagiarism. (Or so it seems to me. Sorry. :) )

Apparently to 'sanitise' is the military equivalent. (Sanitisation doesn't seem to be a word and sanitation doesn't fit.) I prefer that. Fits the general intent of redaction nowadays. Still, everyone does it. Makes you wonder why there isn't an ellipsis key.

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Hoist this

Whatever, I just want to claim the prize for the best contemporary usage of the expression, "hoist with his own petard", in response to the news that a colleague from our German office had been delayed because of an unexploded bomb at Schipol airport...

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Anonymous Coward

Actually, it's

hoist

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Go

@Emilio González

Oh noes! This will be used by kidnappers!

Because if GSV did not exist they'd have no way of telling which stop signs are on Larry's route to work other than, erm, looking at a map.

The only genuinely sensitive piece of information here is Larry's home address - which is something not immediately or obviously available through Street View. Once you've got that, you can generate all this seemingly insecure stuff - but it's nothing that you couldn't do yourself with the Mountain View AtoZ and a box brownie.

Seems to me that Larry's got a lot more to worry about than I have with G taking pictures of his pad. If he's cool about it, why are we worrying?

[insert random petard-related comment here]

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What we need

El Reg, can we have a background midi file playing the Benny Hill Show theme tune attached to this comments page? At least then this thread would be entertaining... For a second or so.

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C

How

did they know where Mr Page lived? Once you have that, everything on streetview is irrelevant.

If you were planning to kidnap him, you would surely take a drive around before doing so, rather than just studying streetview?

To link this issue with privacy is asinine.

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Joke

@Joe Blogs

"You'd have to be daft to leave your curtains wide open while you romp around naked with the mrs..."

And if you do, please let us know so we can send Google round to photograph it.

Hoist....Foist...crivens can you get any a more charged argument ?? Hmm let me see.......

Microsoft is a really nice company, and their Windows Vista OS is great......debate ;)

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Derivations

There is no definitive explanation of the phrase "hoist by his own petard" although the version where the engineer is killed by his own explosive device is popular.

The derivation of the name of that explosive device is know to be from the french for "fart". So there are those who claim that the hoisting phrase actually means that somebody has breathed his own fart.

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two words...

so what.

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@Emilio González - Well Said sir

the deep point that the vast majority of the population seem to be completely blind to is that breaches of Privacy can lead to very serious breaches of Security.

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Blank out

Not just in the article:

I assume the article blanking is a joke with reference to the linked PDF as simply copying the text or images in the PDF reveals what is blacked out.

Jim

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Paris Hilton

Public Domain

I'm an advocate of both freedom of speech and personal privacy. I also worry about the amount of data Google can and does collect and some of the people that they "work closely with".

People seem to be missing the points a little with streetview a little.

1) the images are shot on the public highway, not subject to restrictions that people seem intent to impose and, being as how its on the street -not private images.

If streetview shows me you have a cat and a car, I am the very model of disinterest in this unsurprising fact (as is the cat) and if you accidentally flash your knickers then a polite letter will probably see them get photoshop out and if you stand in your window butt nekkid then you deserve it for public exposure but again I see this being edited out very quickly.

2) None of the information is restricted, including licence plates (which belong to the government NOT you).

Guess what, I saw your number plate when you parked outside the shop, I saw it when you drove past me and I saw it in the car park, I didn't care then -I don't care now.

3) More worrying information is available from Google Earth, here I see you sunbathing nekkid in the privacy of your garden, I get a good idea of the layout of your house and entries/exits and a plan of the best routes.

4) Google Earth is a brilliant idea implemented very well. You'll get to see places that real life means you will never want/have chance to visit. It only shows what is visible to the public and they are good about censorship (better than I think they need be)

I think it's too easy for people to bash big companies for the sake of it. But it's also easy to do it to the point of making people numb to the real issues.

Goggle does stuff which is very dodgy when it comes to privacy and that needs highlighting, but if you bash everything they do (especially good, useful and interesting tools) then the argument just becomes another dry "hey it's a successful company lets all point and sneer"

Paris, cos she could think before speaking too.

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It's not about whether they should have the right to do it

It's about common decency. Just because they can take pictures of everything doesn't mean that they should.

One of the big things about rights is responsibilities - and the biggest responsibility is to use your rights responsibly.

Google and their ilk are pretty much like web criminals - they get us into a vicious circle of exploit/regulation much as the crims run a vicious circle of exploit/defence.

Of course Google is a company - big difference. They are granted more rights and defences by our governments than we are and we are the ones who end up regulated to protect them from us.

The really sad thing is that people don't just fall for it - they sign up for it like turkeys singing xmas carols. Even people who one would hope were guided by rationale and logic rather than marketing and myth refuse to open their eyes.

How many times do we have to read the same fanboi crap from supposedly educated people who personalise corporations, fall for the celebrity status of a few individuals and assign the corporations human like motivations?

I expect the answer is - a few more googillion times yet.

Where's the rant icon?

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