Growing up our house had a bay window at the front which my Mum kept covered with shears, I hated the shears because they were always in the way when I wanted to see outside. When my husband and I moved into the home we live in now I was happy to have two huge front windows which I purposefully left bare of shears. In the first few months it didn’t occur to me that people could see inside my home at night (really brilliant on my part) and it wasn’t until a neighbor commented that he saw me up pacing with our new baby at 4am that I realized the benefit of drapes.
Privacy is important to all of us, with the advances of technology we’ve learned to be careful with our passwords for our online memberships and banking. If you type the word privacy into Google the first & second results are of course Wikipedia’s definition, the third is a branch of the Canadian government, The Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Obviously privacy is a major concern nowadays if the government has created entire branches to protect it.
When I encounter the privacy laws, they’re often a pain in my rump. When I forget to bring my Health Card to the doctor’s office and have to convince them I’m actually myself or they refuse me service; when I call the phone company to change our services but find I can’t because the phone is in my husband’s name it’s a pain.
Especially because of the way we all use social media I think we’re highly aware of what we put out there, or we should be! I have a GREAT photo of my 8-year-old wearing a multi-colored mohawk wig, playing the ukulele naked. I love the pic, but would never post it here or any other social media due to her privacy.
How is it that we are all so aware and cautious and yet on September 9th Forbes reported that a blogger had posted a photo from Google Maps Street View which shattered the fantasy that privacy laws are successful at protecting us.
Somebody stumbled upon this image on Google Maps Street View and it has blown up all over social media sites. From blogs to sites like Forbes, MiamiNewTimes, The Smoking Gun and CBS News this photo has gone viral.
This unnamed woman has had the pleasure of having her naked photo posted with the address included. It is being reported by MSNBC the the woman is a squatter and doesn’t actually reside in the home but isn’t that irrelevant to the bigger picture?
Let’s think about this a moment folks, it could be you or I in a photo taken at an inopportune moment on Google Maps Street View for anyone to see. I would be horrified at the exposure and would have to take precautions appropriate to the fact that my address had been publicized. Isn’t it fantastic that every creep now know exactly where to find me?
Google spokesperson Anne Espiritu says the company takes steps to protect the privacy of people caught doing, well, whatever it is they are doing.
“Once the photographs have been taken they go through computer processing to make them ready for use on Google Maps,” she said. “This includes cutting-edge face blurring technology, which helps make sure that passers-by in the photographs can’t be identified. We will also blur legible license plates.”
Isn’t that wonderful.
Google has since blurred the woman out of the shot but isn’t that too little too late when the story has gone viral?
Apparently the burden’s on you to make sure that, if you’ve ever wandered your house (or outside your house) naked, it’s not been caught on camera. When it comes to privacy/trespassing law, Google’s in the clear, after all. People are allowed to take photos of you when you’re in public view.
It strikes me that the purpose of Google Maps Street View may be overshadowed by the lack of privacy. Just because we have technological capabilities does not always mean we should use them.
Have you checked the view of your home lately? Go on folks do what I did, head over to Google Maps Street View look at your address and ask for images of you or your property to be further obscured on by clicking ‘report a problem’ on the bottom of a street view image.