TriCom Technical Services

Google Street View – A Blessing or A Curse?

In IT news on October 1, 2010 at 8:07 pm

It’s official – Street View is now available on all 7 continents. In the last 3.5 years, Google has managed to map the earth starting with U.S. cities and working its way out to the depths of Antarctica. – mashable.com

While the initial reaction may be stimulating (let’s face it – this is a really useful tool), some may come to grasp with the fact that this newly updated technology could be a potential security issue.

According to PCWorld.com, Street View has been under attack for its alleged privacy violations almost since its launch in May 2007.

Down and out ... pictured on Google's Street View mapping tool.

“It didn’t take long for the backlash against Street View to begin. Many people soon discovered that their faces were easily identifiable in Street View, and not everyone was too happy about the fact that whatever they were doing at the time the Google car happened by was now recorded on the Internet for perpetuity — especially one man caught exiting a strip club, and another woman sunbathing.”

Google image “Google Street View” for a more detailed look at photos caught by the Google vehicle.

Now multiply the distress and complaints by about a million as the Street View vehicle visited other countries to collect images for their service.

“Matters got even worse when it was revealed that Google’s Street View cars had been sniffing wireless networks on their journeys — collecting communications from non-password protected Wi-Fi networks.”

So what to do? Many people use this tool in an effort to better understand a landscape or even get directions, but is it worth the price of someone’s privacy?

Maybe the best piece of advice would be this: If you don’t want the world to know something about you or what you do, don’t put it out there, and don’t act on that behavior in public.

In the meantime, if you do feel your privacy has been violated, you can contact Google to have the image removed.

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