Google Street View: would it be more/less evil if it were CIA or NSA?

Would we feel differently about street-level image mapping if it were done by a government agency? The FBI? CIA? NSA? DHS? Not implying that it should be, and this isn't "backlash." Just asking aloud.

John Battelle points this out in a recent post, and asks "how long 'til this stuff is live video?"

Many asked the same questions a few months back when Microsoft unveiled Virtual Earth Live.

Cameras aren't new, maps aren't new, the internet isn't new, nor is Google or Microsoft. So why does this feel so freshly creepy to so many?

You're welcome to share replies here if you like. Try testing out Google's new facial recognition search feature while you're at it.

Meanwhile, screw all that, here's more easter eggs.

Patrick W says,

Thong action! Link!
BB reader scott lamorte sez,
Here's a google street-level view of a man unloading the Good Vibrations van, which is parked behind a "road work ahead" sign. what kind of tools does he stash in that van, anyway? Link.
BB reader Matt Hamrick got caught by Google sneaking into work late.
All this talk about privacy concerns with respect to Google Street View seemed pretty academic until I noticed that the back of our Prius was captured as I was turning into the parking lot at work. From the angle the shadow casts, you can tell that I was probably sneaking into work at around 11AM. If you pan right a little bit, you can see mi amigo Aaron (the guy with the beard in the white shirt) delivering a latte to a patron at Dana Street Coffee Roasting.

I was using a less frequently used and less visible entrance to the parking lot on a day that I got into work late. I was surprised to find documentary evidence on the web that I wasn't in my cube at 9AM.

Nick West says,
I was cruising Google Maps' new Street View in San Francisco...and saw this billboard for competitor Microsoft's Virtual Earth. There's also a "black hole" in the same shape as the billboard right next to it -- it even obscures an edge. Maybe Google intended to delete the entire billboard for "privacy", but missed by a few feet? Link.

Paul in LA says,
Using Google Maps streetview, here are the famous Golden Gate Park bison. I was in SF this weekend, and visited the bison, who are now wearing dreadlocks of winter coat that is too cool for words (but not visible in the image, sigh).
robert dixon says,
Go to telegraph ave, berkeley, ca on google maps and switch on street view. The Steet View Man Icon returns to the summer of love... Link.
Bill says,
I saw the Google Van last March and had my Canon S110 handy. These shots were taken from a car stopped at the light next to the van after it took a trip around the Cal State East Bay campus. At 2.1 Mpix not too hires but better than the blurry phonecam shots I've seen so far.
(posted from the road in central america / xeni)

Previous BB posts on Google Street View:

  • Google Street View has many uses, like finding dead people?
  • NYT on BB on Google Street View
  • Google Maps is spying on my cat, says freaked out BB reader
  • Google Maps zoom: here's the device and vehicle behind it
  • Google Maps zoom feature inspires neologism
  • Google Maps Zoom and kitty on perch: the inevitable LOLcatting
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    1. Has anyone suggested that government agencies of whatever country do not, or will not, have access to the non blurred out* version (*ie license plates at people’s homes etc..)?

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