Saturday, June 02, 2007

google street stalker?

The new google street view feature has sparked some concern about privacy. I’m still thinking it through. On the one hand, it’s really cool to take a virtual walk around the neighborhood in some cool cities. On the other hand, I think a little bit of suspicion about the availability of this kind of technology is appropriate. After all, I am often reminded of the book 1984 lately and in that book the government has tvs in every home that are also cameras, so they can tell if you’re doing your required exercise and if you’re thinking and writing the right things. I mean, this is a long way from that, but the technology now exists to make it happen. And I have to say, it makes me a little bit nervous.

The biggest irony of this whole thing, however, is that the woman who raised this question managed to get her photo and the cat that google captured in a much clearer image in the New York Times. Of course, her point is not that photos of her cat are available on the internet (heaven knows enough people post pictures of their cats on the internet). Her point is that that kind of detail might lead into realms we don’t really want. Is this the fun part of people watching or the creepy part?

All I know is that I have had plenty of moments in my life when I lose my balance in an ungraceful way or need to take care of a wedgie when I look around and say "oh, good, I don't think anyone saw that." Ubiquitous cameras might make this moment a little bit more paranoid.

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