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#1 swainzy

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 10:52 PM

Google's new street view on maps was brought to my attention of late from our local newspaper - "Smile, You're on Google . Seems Google is driving around rural Sonoma County, sometimes trespassing on private property to get photos of homes and such.

Google spokeswoman Elaine Filadelfo says,

"As for photographing on private property, she said the company tries to avoid it. It is our policy to only gather photos on public roads, she said. We'll certainly take down images taken on private property".

My concern with that statement? How easy is it to reach Google with your request for removal? It's known how unresponsive Google has been to work with on local search map bugs or erroneous listing info.

I metioned the newspaper article to Miriam as I knew she was into local search and that we both live in the same county this article is talking about. She had been aware of this too and was in the process of blogging about it.

Some questionable street views.

Thoughts?

#2 SEOigloo

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 01:14 AM

Hi Donna :huh:
I'm really happy that you've started a discussion about this here. I value the opinions of Cre8 members' above all others.

In talking with several of the people who commented on the post I wrote, it became clear to me that I think we may need to redefine what trespass is. Is it trespass if your foot doesn't come down on private land? Trespass to use tools (cameras) to cross property lines?

I'm looking forward to hearing any and all thoughts on this subject. I think it's an important one and really enjoyed you bringing it up, first in discussion with me, and now, here :)
Miriam

#3 lee.n3o

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 02:11 AM

I actually don't have a problem with it to be honest :embarrassed: ...

Maybe because they aren't doing round my area, but I love the ability to be able to look around somewhere I might not ever get a chance to go.

#4 A.N.Onym

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 02:48 AM

In any case, you should feel comfortable enough as the faces of the innocent will be blurred.

Considering they are using cars and drivers, why do drivers drive up to the privacy property anyway? Shouldn't they
- consult drivers
- fix camera software to keep their lens on the road

Edited by A.N.Onym, 29 July 2008 - 02:47 AM.


#5 eKstreme

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 03:21 AM

A few weeks ago, I had a chat with a Google Streetview driver. Yes, he stopped the car and we had a chat and I took some photos. The post is going up on my blog today or tomorrow.

Lee: they must have done Bedford by now because their centre is in Milton Keynes.

#6 A.N.Onym

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 03:31 AM

Technically, though, it should be almost normal to take a couple of images of the buildings, because that's how people find stuff and what they look for. In moderation, of course. Though I suspect even this approach will rub most people against their fur.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 29 July 2008 - 03:31 AM.


#7 JohnMu

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 03:47 AM

I have to admit that I find Street View along with Panoramio two of the neatest features on Google Maps. When I'm planning on visiting some place, I love to take both of them to help me get oriented before I get there. When I'm considering where to go, I love to use Panoramio to get an idea of what I could find there. Anyway, enough of me :huh:

That said, I don't think trespassing is ok (especially when it's clearly not desired), but I have seen many places where it's not really clear that you're no longer on public ground. I don't know the specifics, so I can't really comment on that..

At any rate, when you see something inappropriate, please take the time to report it to Google. It's easy to do, just click the "Street View Help" link on top of the image, then click on "Report inappropriate image" (try it :)). It'll bring up a form where you can specify exactly what the problem is and submit it (don't try that unless it's really a problem :)). I just noticed that the help center article on that even has a video explaining how to do it.

Looking forward to your blog post, Pierre! I had dinner with one of the people organizing Street View in Europe here, it's fascinating to hear about everything involved.

John

#8 lee.n3o

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 04:59 AM

Lee: they must have done Bedford by now because their centre is in Milton Keynes


COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!! :) B)

I didn't know Google were in Milton Keynes? Thats only up the road!... Hmmm now if only I knew someone at Google :o :) :huh:

#9 rustybrick

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 06:23 AM

Timely topic, it is funny because Greg Sterling (well-known in our industry) found his own cars in Street View. He blogged it at http://gesterling.wo...ws-my-driveway/

#10 Ron Carnell

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 11:21 AM

In talking with several of the people who commented on the post I wrote, it became clear to me that I think we may need to redefine what trespass is. Is it trespass if your foot doesn't come down on private land? Trespass to use tools (cameras) to cross property lines?


Depends on the camera, I think, Miriam. If the camera sees nothing more than the human eye would see, then no, in my opinion it wouldn't constitute trespassing, nor would I consider it an invasion of privacy. If there's something I don't want people to see on my property I'd either move it or get a big fence.

The very last thing I want is for drivers to have to cover their eyes as they pass my house. :)

#11 SEOigloo

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 11:55 AM

The very last thing I want is for drivers to have to cover their eyes as they pass my house


That made me laugh, Ron.

John - Thanks for the advice on requesting removal of images. That's good to have instructions for.


I know, guys...it's cool. I think I said so in the article. Google's ideas are almost always just stunningly cool.

Perhaps, being American, some of us are getting more and more sensitive to invasions of our privacy. Maybe Europe still feels more free and friendly?

Just a thought.
Miriam

#12 JohnMu

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 05:33 PM

Hi Miriam

Absolutely just speaking for myself... :)

I would go out on a limb and say that I think that Europe's generally a little further and has somewhat stricter privacy laws. This may not be true in all situations, but that's how I perceive it (at least from this little, technically non-European, island of Switzerland). Perhaps through our work on privacy here we feel more relaxed in this regard because we feel that the laws are "within reason"? [putting on my helmet]

For instance, we've had laws (or similar) for a while now defining exactly what public webcams are allowed to record and relay online. In a sense, I find public, live webcams much more complicated than a car taking static shots on the street, so if I feel comfortable with those webcams, I should feel more at ease with something taking static images.

Since my old company made medical software, I've always been really interested in the data protection laws, especially over here (you can only do so much). The things I've seen here have been extremely reasonable and quite protective, so I feel pretty comfortable. We've also had some really good people work on those laws here.

Again, this is all just my own opinion and Switzerland is certainly different than the rest of Europe (not to mention the US).

John

#13 joedolson

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 06:06 PM

Pierre's article is up now: Chatting with a Google Streetview Driver.

Very interesting stuff - nice work, Pierre!

#14 swainzy

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 12:06 AM

Interesting Pierre. Glad you wrote that up. The driver didn't want to be photographed! Very ironic.

#15 eKstreme

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 02:22 AM

Thanks Joe and Donna.

The irony of the driver not wanting to be photographed is a bit misleading. The guy was genuinely scared because the BBC article was published only recently and still in memory (it was published early July and people still mention it to this day when Streetview comes up). I just wanted to be a bit of a jerk but it got him to stop and gave me the chance to chat.

Given how scared the guy is, I went through a lot of trouble to assure him his anonymity. I didn't ask for his name. I promised to not give out info about where the incident happened (hence some hiding the details in the photos using tight cropping and colouring over), and I waited a long time to make sure many more cities are covered.

Sitting on a story like this for so long was very hard. I wanted to hit publish too many times but I waited. Then this thread came up and I took it as a sign :) It's your fault, you made me do it :D

P

#16 swainzy

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 10:56 AM

It's your fault, you made me do it

:haha:

Yes, it is more about him being afraid than G being hypocritical, at least in this situation. Interviewing the guy really brings home how much pressure the guy felt from the unhappy public.

Is this the newspaper article you reference Pierre?

Found more info on how Paris views street views:

Yet in France, citizens have a "droit l'image," the right to their own image: pictures identifying them as they go about their private business may not be published without their permission.


Edited by swainzy, 30 July 2008 - 11:07 AM.


#17 eKstreme

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 12:32 PM

Donna,

The article I was referring to is linked to from the post, and it's this BBC article. That caused a bit of a stir and the driver knew about it because he mentioned it.

P

#18 SEOigloo

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 02:57 PM

My article has drawn some pretty strong comments on my blog. One reader used as an example that if people don't want to be photographed in their homes, they should shut their curtains.

Have we really come to this? I guess we have.

I was talking to my lovely mother last night about this subject and she offered what I thought was a very noteworthy comment on it.

She says even if it's not illegal, what it is is 'antisocial'. She says that in her lifetime, she's watched basic rudeness and a lack of good social behavior increase noticeably. Social behavior is in place to make people comfortable. This means not swearing in public, spitting on public sidewalks or accosting strangers in the street to convert them to your religion. Though none of these things is illegal, they cause great discomfort for others and are, thus, antisocial.

I like this definition. Whether it's illegal or not, Google's Street View is making members of society very uncomfortable. It's just not good manners, not good social behavior, to photograph people or their property without their consent.

John -
I really appreciated your take on this. I want to reiterate...I'm wowed by Google's brilliant inventions. You guys are simply wizards and I stand in awe of the technology. Maybe you're right in that Europeans feel safer, better protected, more respected. Americans (and I am making a generalization) are feeling very shaky right now about 200 year old laws being disregarded in the matters of privacy and citizen rights. With all of the troubles we're having, I think a lot of people are not going to be happy about neighbor Google peering in their windows right now.

Thanks for your response!
Miriam

#19 DrPete

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 05:09 PM

I used to live out in what is often called "farm country" and, while I don't want to stereotype people from the country, there are still places where you could be shot for trespassing, especially if you're a 20-something Valley type with a camera. I have nothing against the Street View concept in general, but Google needs to develop some very clear guidelines, communicate them to employees, and be transparent about this.

#20 iamlost

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 05:30 PM

I see the Street View future: urban housing will revert to high blank exterior walls with solid gates opening on interior courtyards like something from old Tangier...

Thanks, Google.

#21 swainzy

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 05:37 PM

DrPete -

I used to live out in what is often called "farm country" and, while I don't want to stereotype people from the country, there are still places where you could be shot for trespassing


I live in the country and I will stereotype - when you move to the country, you want your privacy. That's why you move there. So yes, most country folk don't want to see anyone anywhere near their property that they don't know.

iamlost-I posted just after you but let's say that Google will determine architecture in the future. ; )

Edited by swainzy, 30 July 2008 - 05:45 PM.


#22 SEOigloo

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 06:06 PM

Country Woman #2 weighing in to agree with Country Woman #1.

There are parts of California where Google's street view cars had really better not try going down any private roads in the interest of drivers' safety. Most of Mendocino County comes to mind, eh Donna?

Big guns, big dogs, and big drug fields. People get shot there just about every month for walking in the wrong place.

But...it's very pretty.

Miriam

#23 cre8pc

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 08:23 PM

Wow. Miriam's article on this topic is well presented and thought out.

You can find it here at Google Street View And The California Constitution

#24 swainzy

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 08:39 PM

That's funny Miriam. I never thought about Mendocino County. Yeah, it would be very dicey to be going down country roads taking photographs there. You could be shot for sure. Heck, while hiking on private property, I came across a pot field on my mountain and someone threw something at me so I left like a bullet. I didn't see anyone put I know acorns don't fall in an arc. :eek: I asked the local DEA if they would have shot me and they told me never to take that chance. Yikes. Needless to say, I haven't been back hiking there.

You know - what would G do if they photographed pot in a field unintentionally, or any misdemeanor or felony, would the government want those photos? Would the government know to ask? I wouldn't think G would turn them over. This could get complicated. How might this work?

Hmmm, this discussion is taking some interesting turns.

#25 SEOigloo

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 10:17 PM

You know - what would G do if they photographed pot in a field unintentionally, or any misdemeanor or felony, would the government want those photos?


Good question, Donna. I wonder if people have been busted this way. You always hear about helicopters finding these places. How about Google Earth?

Wow. Miriam's article on this topic is well presented and thought out.

That's so nice, Kim. Thank you. I seemed to have stirred up some people whom I'd never heard from before. They took my references to my state's constitution as a claim that I'm some kind of legal expert. Really, no, just a Californian who cherishes the constitution. It created some interesting discussions. I'm actually putting together a second post on this topic for SEG.

Miriam

#26 eKstreme

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 08:15 AM

And now in Bradford. How do we know? Because a car got stopped by the police :)

#27 iamlost

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 10:26 AM

Are you sure that Bradford G-car got stopped, Pierre?

The way I heard it is that every G-car must be followed by a siren sounding cop car to warn everyone the candid camera car is approaching. :)

#28 DrPete

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 10:29 AM

Pretty soon, Google will be able to afford to buy your local police department, and then the whole thing will be a moot point :)

#29 iamlost

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 11:10 AM

DrPete - G hire human type people?
That is against the Tenets of the Algo.
I am, however, rather concerned about the G SkyNet (beta) program... :tinfoil:

#30 eKstreme

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 11:19 AM

All Google's software is beta. Heck they can't get their accounts system to work properly.

#31 swainzy

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 11:18 AM

A Swiss government official is demanding that Google Inc. immediately take off the Internet any image of Switzerland in its "Street View Maps," and the company said Monday it would discuss the matter with the privacy rights regulator.

Here

#32 SEOigloo

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 04:04 PM

I have wondered about this in regards to Switzerland. I read a very interesting book on the subject of Switzerland's national security and the importance they place on keeping their various military areas secret. I think this should be respected. The world needs Switzerland.

I wonder if our John Mu could weigh in on this.

#33 A.N.Onym

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 08:46 PM

Can you imagine banning journalists with video cameras from non-secret places, such as streets? What an uproar it'd cause. Then why do you want to ban Google cars?

Just playing a Google's advocate here. I don't like an idea of my driveway shown on the Internet without my permission, too.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 24 August 2009 - 08:47 PM.


#34 jonbey

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 09:25 PM

Seems a lot of fuss about nothing really. Mind you, someone was convicted in the UK for stealing iron from roofs, and he used aerial photos / maps to locate targets! At least with Streetview people cannot see into your back garden.

#35 TheManBehindTheCurtain

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 10:31 AM

Street view is very handy for commercial districts. I can even see it as a virtual tour of new, unoccupied housing developments.

When a journalist takes a video camera into a public place, the journalist is still there to report on something of public concern. If you're a public person, you are fair game for reporters because there is a public need to know. If you're not in the public eye, certain types of coverage is prohibited. There is no public need to know that John Q. Public is an accountant by day at XYZ firm and an alcoholic by night at home. Even "person in the street" interviews are conducted with the person's consent.

The trouble with street view is: there is no public "need to know" that my neighbor has expensive shop equipment in his garage, that lots of young children live on my block ... in fact, I can't think of any legitimate reason why anyone needs to know what our houses look like at all.

Imagine what could be done with the money Google is pouring down this novelty.

#36 glyn

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 11:01 AM

It's all a very grey area and boy does Google know it. That's the reason behind the speed at which it's all getting done. I was reading the other day a post in the security columns about what exactly browsers like Google Chrome are feeding back to Google central.

Why would a machineID be considered necessary to be sent to trigger updates, if not for tracking purposes. I embrace technology and love it, but I'm not confortable with the degree of ownership G has over personal data and the power it has to collect and collate it.

#37 cre8pc

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 11:12 AM

Related...

Was talking to a client yesterday about adding SM like Twitter and FB to his marketing arsenal. He hesitates because he heard about this....

Someone posts on their Twitter or FB status that they are "Having fun in Disney" or "Leaving tomorrow for blah blah" or something that indicates the house is free.

Robbers search for keywords related to folks leaving their homes, find out where they live with all the info there is on the Web, pull up Google Maps and GPS and viola!

Easy house to rob.

Obviously the solution is to not get personal but its not a stretch to think that ANY presence on the Web is now a security threat. :)



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