Google’s Street View an Invasion of Privacy?

by Barbara J. Feldman on June 5, 2007

Google’s Street View is now live at Google Maps for five cities (San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Denver and Miami) with more cities coming soon. Street View is a 360-degree street-level photograph that has some people upset about privacy concerns. Here, for example, is a view of a San Francisco restaurant I dined at over the long Memorial Day weekend. Google retorts that all photos are taken from public streets, and therefore they are not violating anyone’s privacy. What do you think?

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Google’s Street View an Invasion of Privacy?." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 5 Jun. 2007. Web. 30 Sep. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/261/googles-street-view-an-invasion-of-privacy/ >.


  • Bixie

    At first I saw no harm in this sort of thing, but upon closer inspection of a few different street views, I spotted a public park with children playing in it. I am a teacher in Western Australia, and am very conscious of not publishing children’s information, and sometimes even their faces, in public forums (class newsletters, school websites, etc. This information may end up in the wrong hands – paedophiles, mothers or fathers who are legally not allowed to see their children, etc. Parents choose to attend a public park, and do so safely, but they don’t choose for their child to be photographed and that photo be made freely accessible throughout the world via the internet. Where children are concerned, we can’t be too careful. So what do we do then? Take photos of streetviews, and just leave out parks? Apart from being silly, it is a fact that children don’t just frequent parks! And what about people under witness protection? What about rehabilitated criminals trying to begin a new life? Trying not to be too simplistic, but it really is a can of worms!

  • Len Levine

    Oh, yeah? A zoom lens into the bathroom(thru the window, if they have one) of a public restaurant, service station, bar or fitting room of a clothing store could provide some interesting views. How about zooming into a reading room of a public library. Digital cameras, cell phone cameras all could be used to invade public places. Are they o.k.? On the street or in the lobby of a bank is NOT the same as taking a pic inside a room, whether it’s a restaurant room or a room inside your house. Its the normal expectation of privacy as opposed to the normal expectation of being in the public eye that’s the crucial difference here. Lawyers would argue that the question revolves around what a normal person assumes in normal circumstances, not what is possible.

  • Barb Bicknell

    I believe that once you enter a public place or forum, you lose the right to privacy by virtue that you are in a public place. Therefore I believe that what we see in a public place does not violate our right to privacy. If however, the cameras are placed so that we are able to see inside a private domain, ie a house, then privacy is clearly violated.
    The bottom line is that if you don’t want others to see or know what you’re doing, don’t do it in a public place.

  • http://www.geo-trotter.com GeoTrotter

    I added here the best Google Street View.

  • Hannah

    I, personally, think that while private viewing is uncalled for,
    there is no particular reason that the residents of these cities should be upset. I mean, the pictures aren’t doing any harm, are they? Pictures are just basically explianing these cities to the rest of the world without having to visit them.