Google Street View tests privacy limits

Commentary: If a man enters a sex shop in broad daylight, anyone can see him doing so.

By ROY GOLDENBERG / GLOBES
August 28, 2011 23:28
1 minute read.
Google Street View car

Google Street View car 311. (photo credit: Wikicommons)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The seal of approval that Google received last week to introduce its controversial street-mapping application, Street View, into Israel raised many questions. Perhaps like in some countries that have already been burned by the application, this is a legitimate discussion about where privacy ends and technology begins.

Google’s application does allow us to receive a 360-degree visual image of streets in large cities worldwide, which assists us in finding the street where we reserved a hotel in Barcelona or a popular cafe on Bogroshov Street. On the other hand, there is the question of privacy.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Should Google, which has been coping continuously since its establishment a decade ago with complaints of invasion of privacy, be allowed to photograph a man picking his nose in the middle of the street or a woman strolling on Fifth Avenue in New York with her lover?

The streets belong to all of us and are not owned by Google. On the other hand, we are still talking about public space, and it is therefore difficult to argue that Google is invading the depths of pedestrians’ privacy. For example, if a man enters a sex shop in broad daylight, anyone can see him doing so. Now he needs to take the chance that the Google application might document his actions and preserve them for all posterity. Google did announce that it would blur people’s faces, as well as cars’ license plate numbers, but is this enough from a privacy point of view?

This discussion would have looked different a decade ago, but over the last few years privacy boundaries have been stretched farther and farther and have become extremely elastic. If beforehand people would keep their pictures from their honeymoon in Thailand private, today we can see them in full view on Facebook.

Related Content

The Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
April 30, 2015
Teva doubles down on Mylan, despite rejection

By GLOBES, NIV ELIS