3/24/2009

What the Hell Is Wrong with Brits?

Three surveillance cameras on the corner of a ...Image via Wikipedia

Our British friends are just having a complete mental meltdown over Google Street View. You know, where they have a street level view of areas so you can see what it looks like as you're driving.

It's an invaluable tool for navigating since you have an idea of what the area you're going to looks like rather than just some dot on a map and no points of reference.

Here in the USA no one seems too bent about it. I guess we figure if we're on a public street then we shouldn't get upset if we show up in someone's photograph.

But in Britain? Oh God, they're completely freaked out. Now they want Google to do away with the service completely.

Privacy International (PI) director Simon Davies said his organisation had filed the complaint given the "clear embarrassment and damage" Street View had caused to many Britons.

He said Street View fell short of the assurances given to the ICO that enabled the system to launch.

"We're asking for the system to be switched off while an investigation is completed," said Mr Davies.

Google Street ViewImage via Wikipedia

I honestly do not get these people. Great Britain has more government surveillance cameras in public places than just about any other place on earth. They routinely monitor phone calls, emails and pretty much anything that can be digitized for "security" purposes.

The people in the photos on Google Street View are living in one of the world's major cities. They should realize they probably appear in dozens of tourist photographs daily. Do they require that tourists come get them to sign a release before they can take a photograph? Do they insist that tourists cannot share photos among friends that might have a local's face because it would "infringe on privacy"?

It seems that this Privacy Group has decided that Google Street View will be their straw man. They can't make headway with their own government's meddling in private lives and watching their citizens 24/7 on camera and by computer so they'll go after a public service that poses absolutely no threat to anyone.

Get a life guys.



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