Here’s something I don’t think has been brought up in all the reactions I’ve seen so far: Google demonstrates the difference in power and respect for government authority. The watchers can go unwatched.
Let’s say that I’m Citizen Derek, and I’m shown on Google Streets bringing something really expensive like a plasma television into my house* — or pick your reason. If I want that picture removed, I can’t do it. Similarly, if Google’s got a super-high-resolution view of my house in Google Earth and I’m worried about a stalker, I’m equally screwed.
But if I’m Vice President Derek, I can get my house blurred off. The government has the ability to achieve a level of privacy that individuals are entirely denied.
This is a reversal of long-standing tradition, that functions of government should be open and that the activities and property of private citizens should be private. This is a very good reason to find the whole exercise unsettling, even if you can’t precisely state why — it is unsettling.
* I own a nine-year old 32″ where the picture bends on the far-left side, if you’re curious