On power disparity in Google Street View

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

2 thoughts on “On power disparity in Google Street View

  1. Tim Shannon

    Hey Derek,

    I’ve been a big fan all along for what you do, so not sure where to post this bit. I’ve been meaning to comment about you digging up the MLB rule where Torii Hunter can’t sent the KC Royals some Dom for sweeping the Sox to earn the Twins the Central Title. I can appreciate your journalistic digging, but I always apply the “Shannon Doctrine” to unearthed crud/disclosure- which is- “just because a dog can lick his balls is it such a good idea?” – and applied to this case it would read as follows- most of the royals have probably never tasted Dom and won’t in the near future. It is obvious that the Twins didn’t throw the games nor did the Royals use drugs to win or prevail with an unfair advantage. Summary- stupid MLB rule stupidly applied, but congrats you get press and John Buck never gets to know what he’s missing.

Comments are closed.