June 25, 2008

Zooming In

This is an interesting story found in The New York Times:

"Ms. Kalin-Casey, who manages an apartment building here with her husband, John Casey, was a bit shaken when she tried a new feature in Google’s map service called Street View. She typed in her address and the screen showed a street-level view of her building. As she zoomed in, she could see Monty, her cat, sitting on a perch in the living room window of her second-floor apartment."

"The issue that I have ultimately is about where you draw the line between taking public photos and zooming in on people’s lives,” Ms. Kalin-Casey said in an interview Thursday on the front steps of the building. “The next step might be seeing books on my shelf. If the government was doing this, people would be outraged.”"

"Google said in a statement that it takes privacy seriously and considered the privacy implications of its service before it was introduced on Tuesday. “Street View only features imagery taken on public property,” the company said. “This imagery is no different from what any person can readily capture or see walking down the street.”"

"Back at her apartment, Ms. Kalin-Casey acknowledged that plenty of information about her — that she manages an apartment complex, that she was an editor at the film site — is already easily accessible through Google and other search engines."

"People’s jobs are pretty public,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean they want a shot of their sofa on Google.” She has asked Google to remove the image of her building, which was still online as of Thursday evening."

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