Google’s “Street View” is just one more culture grab from the philistines at the Leviathan of Mountain View. If you’re not familiar with “Street View” it’s a very creepy feature of Google’s Earth that let’s you get right into that Big Brother groove–a specially equipped car carrying an 11 lens camera called the Dodeca 360 roams the streets of the world taking snaps of your house. The camera captures pictures of your house at a rate of 100 million pixels per second and records the GPS coordinates of chez vous.
It then phones home to the Cloud at Mountain View and presto chango, your house becomes free content for Google to sell advertising around. You, too, have a chance to become Run of Site. And just in case you need to satisfy your voyeristic urges on the road, Google makes Street View available on the iPhone as part of its Google’s Earth application.
This innovation gave rise to other innovative sites such as Google Sightseeing (“Why Bother Seeing the World for Real?”) and other voyeuristic sites devoted to finding pictures on Street View of naked or semi-naked girls with their faces blurred. Pimps supposedly do that blurring thing, too, when hooking underage girls on Craig’s List so they don’t get popped for distributing child porn. And then there’s “Google Street View Kills Bambi” featuring images of the Google Car running over a fawn.
I always wondered what would happen if the Google Car came to say, Tucumcari or Tonapah. But apparently, the good people of Broughton, Bucks. get the idea and blocked the road to their village so the Google Car could not enter. (See “Village Mob Thwarts Google Street View Car“.) At least in Broughton, the residents have no intention of getting googled. What reaction from the Ministry of Cloud?
“We know that some [proles] are uncomfortable with images of their houses or cars being included in the product, which is why we provide an easy way [for your average punter] to request removal of imagery [meaning we blur your punter face but keep the rest of you]. Most imagery requests are processed within hours. We take privacy very seriously, and we were careful to ensure that all images in our Street View service abide by UK law [so see you in court].”
Ah, sunshine on a Cloudy day. It’s Google’s Earth, after all, they can sell it any way they want. I don’t think it’s just the houses and cars that people are “uncomfortable” with, I think it’s also pictures of THEM.
See, all you have to do is (A) discover they have snapped your house (perhaps including pictures of your children) and (B) send a takedown notice to the benevolent Ministry of Cloud.
Or…you could do (C) which is take a cricket bat or two or five to the car.
Just to make it extra creepy, Google fav Wikipedia let’s us know that the “long awaited” inclusion of “Oceana” in Street View was completed in 2008. (I’m sure that Britanica probably wouldn’t have been quite so pitchy in its coverage as is the old Wikmeister, but then Britanica doesn’t get returned consistently [or at all] at the top of Google search results like Wikipedia does.) George Orwell fans will remember Oceana from 1984. (1984 was a book, Googlers. You know, paper pages, ink, printing, binding. A book.)
And remember, ignorance is strength.
Google will get a chance to make the new law they love so much as Privacy International has filed a formal complaint with the UK Information Commissioner.
Welcome to Europe little Googlers.