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Google Street View: I have a black box over my eyes.

Alex Christie

24 March 2009

After quite a bit of back and forth with the government and protesters, Google Street View has finally launched its British counterpart: And how much fun has it been roving around your old haunts and places you spent time growing up?


Although very impressive in its detail and the awesome tech behind its recognition software, it has managed to stir up some controversy; from showing pub-dwellers throwing up in the street to accidentally capturing a naked minor playing at a family picnic. In both these cases, there has been public outcry about the footage. I can understand, and even agree with the latter issue needing to be resolved, but it would appear that everybody is jumping on the “loss-of-privacy” band wagon and ruining a great tool.

Seriously people! Is your privacy being invaded by an image that gets updated less than once a year? Have we already forgotten about the thousands of CCTV cameras equipped with live feeds, facial recognition, motion tracking, and are not limited to the outside of buildings?

The problem here is that people get caught up in marketing hype, and occasionally, so do the parties being rallied against. Google has implemented some impressive software that automatically blurs faces and license-plates, not without some humorous results, to comply with the mass hysteria of the “invaded”. Google has also gone so far as to blur or remove certain buildings and structures from its’ Street View and its’ satellite images.

I can understand Google not wanting to fall out of favor with the people in the world and so they give in to silly requests, but if you are going to do something do it properly: Why is it necessary to blur the houses of parliament in Google Street View, when Google Image Results can still show the image?



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