On August 23, 2010, ABC’s, “Good Morning America,” program featured a piece by Robin Roberts regarding, Google Earth. Is, Google Earth, another unwanted invasion of our personal privacy?
“Google Earth,” is a software program anyone can sign up for and view maps, geography, and satellite imagery of the earth or space for complex or pinpointed searches anywhere in the world. Google Earth’s website can be obtained via this link. http://earth.google.com/
“Good Morning America,” reported that maybe this could be another incident of big brother watching us and our actions. There were several incidents reported. In Florida, Google Earth, was used to search for criminals. In Wisconsin, marijuana farms were searched out and located. In Pennsylvania, people who invaded their tax payments found their homes, names, and addresses, along with their taxes owed reported on a site for public viewing, via Google Earth.
Google Earth, can zoom in on your home, your street and your neighborhood, capturing your cars, or possible unpermitted pools and home additions. Who views this information and how can it be used? Is Google Earth the future of public privacy invasion coming to haunt us? And why do we fear this invasion of privacy? I for one believe our invasion of privacy has gone too far because of all the negative changes in our society. Along with, Google Earth, cameras have invaded our daily lives.
In stores, cameras are evident all over because of the increase in acts of shop lifting. I understand the store’s reasons, but I believe cameras are too personally intrusive when they are placed in dressing rooms, even with warning signs informing you that you could be video recorded. Are you comfortable knowing someone is watching you while you try on clothes, dressing and undressing?
When you drive through the city cameras are placed in traffic lights, capturing your car’s image and license plate if you happen to run a light. Your car’s image is recorded and rather quickly you will receive a ticket in the mail from the Motor Vehicle Department. EZ Pass, a paid bridge and road toll system tracks your car’s daily movements.
When you make a phone call to any customer service, you’re warned your conversation may be recorded for training purposes. If you use a vehicle belonging to your job, GPS tracking may be in effect tracking your every move.
You walk down the street and video cameras are in place recording you. In the case of criminal activity, I can understand the logical need for it. But I also wonder who is the person recording my daily activity, and who is viewing who I meet and talk to. I’m uncomfortable being video taped without giving my permission being on a public sidewalk. Neighbors have security video cams recording the activity near their homes.
Camera phones have freely allowed anyone to record and capture your image, and upload it on, You Tube, all without your permission. Perverts can record children or others for their own personal satisfactions. Cameras have become so compact that they can be placed anywhere. In the case of nanny cameras I understand, but a camera in a public bathroom is another warped invasion of privacy. Our new cell phones have technology allowing them to be tracked by government and law agencies.
Laptops are another invasion of personal privacy via webcams. In February of 2010, The Lower Merion School in Pennsylvania, allegedly remotely activated webcams on laptops given to students to use at home. These webcams were unauthorized to be activated by school staff and allegedly recorded activities of a few students in the privacy of their own homes. You can read an article about this invasion of privacy via the below link. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-02-18-school-laptop_N.htm
My concern for this widespread invasion of privacy is how far will it go? How far will the government get involved in tracking our personal lives, and what will this information be used for? In the movie, “Enemy of The State,” the actor, Will Smith, portrays a character facing this invasion of privacy to an extreme, due to law enforcement agencies and their advanced surveillance powers. I feel this movie isn’t too far off the track for today.
“Google Earth,” is the latest privacy invasion. Do we have anything else to be concerned about? Research this invasion of personal privacy in your daily lives for yourself.