Google U.K. Street View Runs Into Privacy Issues - InformationWeek

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3/23/2009
03:18 PM
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Google U.K. Street View Runs Into Privacy Issues

The company over the weekend found itself denying that it had published Street View images depicting naked children.

And Google continues to face privacy complaints about services like its new Latitude location-sharing service for mobile devices, for Street View elsewhere in the world, for Google Earth imagery, and just about everything else it does.

Such criticism appears to have prompted Google, in announcing the commencement of behavior-based ad targeting, to describe its technology as "interest-based advertising."

Many of those writing blog posts about the announcement preferred terms more suggestive of privacy invasion, such as "behavioral advertising" and "behavioral targeting," in their description of Google's announcement.

Google's Street View in the United Kingdom is likely to survive -- it is, after all, really useful. Nonetheless, Google faces a long siege. It will have to continue to adjust, accommodate, and probably apologize as it rolls out new services. If it succeeds in maintaining most of the public's confidence and trust, it may help most people accept that privacy has become something one opts into. But plenty of Google's foes see privacy as the collar to which a leash can be attached.

Consider the tweet that came from Privacy International's Twitter account Friday: "Amazed how many complaints we are getting about Google's Street View. We used to get hate mail; we are now overloaded with requests for help."

If you listen, you can almost hear someone crying, "Save us! Oh, save us from Google!" But you have to listen hard to hear that above clattering keystrokes of Google users who aren't really bothered by all the fuss about privacy.


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