Monday, October 25, 2010

Google and the privacy myth

It’s one thing to Google your name and find all sorts of links of your online activity. It’s quite another when it seems your most personal details can just as easily be found online.

I was recently introduced to Google Earth which happened to send shock waves through my fragile little system. “WTF!! … but that’s my flat!” I couldn’t quite understand my friend’s raves about the application until I saw it myself. What could be so scary about an online street map anyway?

Then, of course, after checking it out myself- my friend’s little picture became rather clear. There - in full picture view - was a too close up picture of my flat, and a view of the parking area revealed my little car. Any closer and you could have me with my morning coffee. The scary thing really is that this information is available online through the Google Earth application.... as in for the whole world to see. It really brings new meaning to the phrase that “you are never alone”.

The pics are apparently taken – periodically I assume- using satellite imagery, aerial photography and by the dude in the annexed pic I was lucky enough to snap whilst strolling around town, minding my business of course.

So- there happens to be a little bottom line here- is privacy seriously something of the past? Already our emails and telephone calls can be recorded and traced (I’m still hoping only used when actually necessary). Google Earth just seemed to be more than the cherry. At the lack of finding a better description- it just feels like one’s privacy is raped. For me, home is supposed to be my haven, safe and secure little spot from the big bad world. I don’t quite like the idea of my haven being available online. It’s something like being spied on permanently.

I’m not sure how everyone else feels- maybe it could be a good thing for finding direction when you need- but does it really have to include images with people or one’s private residence as a consequence? So what next? A live feed of you watering the garden?

Can you say Big Brother – 1984?

Pics: by Special Agent Muneera :-)

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