This could range from vehicle license plates, properties, people doing mundane activities, as well as people in compromising or out-of-context situations. And since Google’s Street View images were taken in public places (by Google Street View cars), they appeared to be on legal ground. But “just because managers aren’t breaking the law doesn’t necessarily mean they are being ethical” (Daft). A solid debate rose about the issue’s gray areas of free expression versus privacy.
Google on the other hand, provided efficient compliance of removal of images in 24 ours after someone reports or deems a photo “objectionable”, or if someone doesn’t want to be included in the photo. But even with this kind of security measure, one cannot always guarantee that safety hasn’t been compromised yet in that 24-her period. It also has a pixel-distorting capability but still failed to ensure identity protection for some license plates as it is oftentimes, still distinguishable.
In 2008, a Pittsburgh couple filed suit against Google for invasion of privacy after photos Of their home were published online by Street View. The bigger concern came when Google’s Street View cars have also been harmed to collect unencrypted personal data from open Wife networks. Initially, Google denied such allegations but after ample amount of evidence collected, Google acknowledged that, “in some instances entire emails and URL were captured, as well as passwords” (Justice, 2010).
It was later on blamed to a single engineer Marcus Miller’s payload collection code that apparently have saved all non-encrypted frames Nonstop, 2012). Google’s defense also claimed that there is nothing wrong with collecting data from unsecured wireless networks because those networks by nature broadcast heir activity for the world to see. Apparently, these are what we all are agreeing on when we are being asked to agree to terms upon joining a wireless network. They claimed that the data gathering was for better marketing and that it had no unlawful intent whatsoever.
Weather it was an engineer’s fault for the said code to have saved the unencrypted information causing the entire fiasco, it’s still questionable how this kind of an overlooked management decision, could’ve slipped a big company like Google. Being a company built on data business platform that claims to value privacy and respect users, the project management should’ve been approached with more sensitivity. Human beings have the right not to be manipulated. With regards to the Street View controversy, the benefits and promise of public mapping technology is enormous.
It’s not very different with the amount of CATV cameras available in our streets and highways, in my opinion. However, think privacy considerations are more important than voyeuristic pleasure. Once a sensitive disclosure is made (in this case, a photo taken), you cannot take it back and the project could have serious consequences for some people. Photographers are aware how people can object strenuously to being photographed by strangers without being granted permission.
But in this case, people are cut off of the privilege to object. Privacy, confidentiality, identity, misrepresentations, personal biases and all other sensitive information and subjects all come into play in establishing and identifying the gray areas of weather or not Google Earth’s Street View is ethical. Firstly, Google needs to take a look at why they are developing this technology in the first place. They should’ve limited their street views to places of interest such s hotels, theaters, museums, or even a train stations.