Google: You Have No Privacy, Part 2 - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Applications
Commentary
8/21/2008
05:20 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
50%
50%

Google: You Have No Privacy, Part 2

Google is taking more heat for alleged privacy violations stemming from its Street Views service, this time in Sonoma County, Calif. In this instance, a Google Street Views driver went through a gate, past a "No Trespassing" sign, and past a watchdog to take his images. Think your private road is going to stop Google's prying eyes? Think again.

Google is taking more heat for alleged privacy violations stemming from its Street Views service, this time in Sonoma County, Calif. In this instance, a Google Street Views driver went through a gate, past a "No Trespassing" sign, and past a watchdog to take his images. Think your private road is going to stop Google's prying eyes? Think again.Betty Webb, a resident in Humboldt County, Calif., isn't a happy camper. According to her, a Google Street Views driver went up her private road and past two "No Trespassing" signs to take pictures of her house, which is 1,200 feet back from the main street. "It isn't just a privacy issue; it is a trespassing issue, with their own photos as evidence. They really went off the track to get to our address," she told The Press Democrat via e-mail.

The Press Democrat goes on to report that, "On Orr Ranch Road, a private street outside of Santa Rosa, Google drove its car past a 'Private Road' sign and continued photographing for nearly a mile. Near Freestone, the company drove past a 'No Trespassing' sign and through a gate to take photographs from a dirt road that passed through someone's yard. The images allowed Internet users to see inside someone's living room window."

Hmm. Allowing anyone on the Internet to see into my living room? I think that would tick me off. I live in an urban environment. My neighbors' houses are scant feet from my own. In such an environment, I expect to give up a small portion of privacy, but I still don't expect anyone to be staring -- or have a view -- into my living room.

Google contends that its policy prohibits drivers from driving up private land, but the message isn't getting through. One driver said quite bluntly that he was simply told to drive around Sonoma County and take pictures.

Google also says that it has the right to go up private roads. In legal filings, it said, "turning around in a private driveway while photographing the exterior of a home is not a substantial intrusion."

I expect that point can and will be debated hotly. There is a most likely a reason that Ms. Webb lives 1,200 feet down a private road. She wants to have some privacy. For Google to drive one-quarter mile up her private road and snatch pictures of her house seems like an intrusion to me.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
News
Top 10 Data and Analytics Trends for 2021
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/13/2020
Commentary
Where Cloud Spending Might Grow in 2021 and Post-Pandemic
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/19/2020
Slideshows
The Ever-Expanding List of C-Level Technology Positions
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/10/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Why Chatbots Are So Popular Right Now
In this IT Trend Report, you will learn more about why chatbots are gaining traction within businesses, particularly while a pandemic is impacting the world.
Slideshows
Flash Poll