Privacy online… or better yet the lack of it

The Google Street View is a huge discussion topic in Germany right now. The company is currently taking pictures in 20 cities and it’s planning to go online at the end of this year.

A lot of people refuse to accept what Google is doing without their permission. They are afraid that literally anyone could look into their backyard using this tool. They worry about their safety and security. What if burglars will use the system to identify which rich areas to hit?

But the camera’s are positioned low, people’s faces are blurred and car license plates are removed. So steps are being taken continuously to ensure everyone’s privacy.

I think Google CEO Schmidt’s suggestion in an interview just the other day is hilarious:

If you don’t like being in Google Street View then just move.

But not everyone agrees with me and this statement has triggered outrage among the population. It’s difficult to please everyone.

Due to the high number of protests and complaints, Google has found a very nice solution for this problem. People can simply request their house to be taken down from Street View and hundreds of thousands of people in Germany have already did so.

I personally think Google Street View is an awesome application. I’m not putting “my dirty laundry” out in front of my house for the neighbors to see so Street View is not an issue for me either.

When I traveled to Paris this year, this tool was really helpful. I could see exactly where my hotel was located. So as we arrived there, the street already looked familiar and I headed directly to the building like I actually knew the place. There are benefits to this.

Nowadays everyone is on the internet. Aren’t those, who are so worried about Street View, afraid to share their lives on Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare?

Both Twitter and Facebook (where you must register with your real name, talk about privacy!) enables others to see what you are doing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Facebook’s Places and Foursquare shows publicly your exact location. While your friends near-by can use this feature to meet with you over a coffee, so can bad people too. They will certainly not sit down to have a coffee with you but they can see when you are not home. So if you added your home in the application, you just left your door wide open for the burglars to come in and help themselves.

Shouldn’t this be a bigger concern to you?