A Very British Irony : Google Street View Service Attracts Criticisms

As one of the world's biggest data company, Google is bound to attract a significant amount of criticism and Google Street View, which is a feature of one of its most popular services, Google Maps, shouldn't come as a surprise.

But the ferocity of the comments that the UK launch of this innovative service has attracted is puzzling to say least. What is Google being accused of? Taking photos of street, people and vehicles across UK and posting them online.

Google has encouraged users to test and remove images that they feel might intrude the privacy of the users. But then, United Kingdom is the country where a government routinely loses the intimate data of millions without causing that much ruckus.

This is also the place where living under the eyes of nearly 5 million CCTVs have become part and parcel of every day life. As a reminder, Britain has the highest ratio of CCTV per thousand citizens.

We shouldn't forget that the UK Identification Card project is still under way as well as plans to, not only bring all major public databases altogether but also monitor, logging and tracking the main communication alleyways - email, phone, internet.

Chances also that the requests to take down the photos, come from the very same people who would gladly upload their personal details and photos of their antics to social networking websites like Facebook or Twitter.

So bearing in mind all these, it seems very, very ironic indeed that a few photos of British citizens puking around, entering a peep shop or throwing stone nearly a year ago cause that much commotion.

Another irony of course is that the media attention means that some photos like the guy coming out of the sex shop will remain online forever on other websites.

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Our Comments

At the end of the day, Google is offering an extremely useful service. The search giant should be commended for offering a simple, straight forward tool that allows the users to flag photos easily. May common sense prevail.

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