Google Street View makes red light cameras seem like our friends

I’m not typically a big fan of DMN columist Jacquielynn Floyd, but her recent column about the Google-ization of the world is thought-provoking. She used the recent death of school crossing guard Franklin Lester, killed by a careless and apparently drunk motorist, as the starting point. And she produced a Google photo of Lester sitting in the exact spot where he was killed courtesy of a photo taken by the Google Street View team.

Her point is well-taken: We’ve written here at Back Talk about people becoming all jacked-up about red-light cameras installed at intersections. There are people who complain the traffic-watch cameras violate our privacy, but apparently we don’t have as much of a problem with satellite imagery of our homes being broadcast throughout the world. It’s all out there, it’s all pretty-much free, and it’s all pretty invasive from a personal standpoint if you’re inclined to look at things that way.

We always tell our kids that there’s really no way to do anything both wrong and anonymously anymore because cameras are everywhere these days — not only in the sky and on Google-sponsored vehicles traversing our neighborhoods. They’re in stores, in elevators, in backyards, in office buildings, even in stuffed animals as nanny-cams. I’m half-expecting to find out someday that they’re being mounted in bathroom stalls, for our own protection, of course.

Floyd has no conclusion, and there’s none of the customary handwringing or moralizing. She just talked about an issue that affects us all, whether we think about it much or not.


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  • Jake

    Okay this post is a little over the top. It isn’t as if Google has a car on every corner taking photos of neighborhoods every day. I think the photo of my home was taken in 2007. That doesn’t exactly sound like “Google-sponsored vehicles traversing our neighborhoods”. Nor does it sound like this would affect anyone’s personal anonimity. I think I can allow someone to take a picture of my house every couple of years if it allows me the opportunity to see an area before I go.