After looking at the Photographic body of work by Michael Wolf ‘A series of Unfortunate Events’ and the article ‘The Nine Eyes of Google Street View,’ I was shocked by the still images captured ‘accidently’ by Google Street View. This method of curating raw everyday natural images I found fascinating. It’s all unposed, unplanned and documents life everywhere around the world.
There is so much truth and reality behind Google Street View, but is Google invading our privacy?
Street View was set up in May 2007, initially only photographing on the streets of a few states in the USA. Two years later Google made it their mission to capture 360 views of every highway and street in the world.
Since then Google has received thousands of complaints and claimed people attempt to sue for one thing or another every day.
Our society is one where we are constantly being watched by CCTV cameras, which are now on almost every city worldwide. When cameras were first set up, the masses complained, but as time went on, we just came to accept it as normality.
I have selected a few complaints from a large list filed to Google in March 2009;
“More than two hundred members of the public have contacted Privacy International since last Thursday to express concern about specific images on Street View. We believe on the basis of these complaints, that the service has created numerous instances of embarrassment and distress and that the promised privacy safeguards do not provide adequate protection to shield Street View from the general requirement of notice and consent.
- A woman who has for several years been moving house to avoid detection from a former violent partner complained to us that she felt extreme distress when Street View identified her outside her new home.
- A man complained to us that when he looked up his own home on Street View every numberplate had been blurred other than that of his own car, which was parked directly outside his home. The complainant is now extremely concerned about security implications.
- Two men working for a large organization were identified by work colleagues in a situation which gave the appearance that they were kissing each other. This was not the case, but the image – subsequently widely circulated throughout the organization – has caused great humiliation to them and their (female) partners.
- A woman was captured leaning out of her loungeroom window in the company of a man. The woman’s husband discovered the image and confronted his wife, demanding an explanation of her apparent “affair”. It transpired that the man was a contractor, and the woman was discussing a quote for exterior painting work. The argument was swiftly resolved, but the couple is still extremely distressed about the situation.”
BBC Article and video responding to calls to shut down Street View:
Has Google gone too far invading our privacy with Street View? Or are we just going to get used to it, as the digital era we live in is constantly changing. Do we have no choice but to accept it?