Google Street View is an amazing new technology. I’ve used it countless times when I prepare to visit a place I have never been. I just jump on Google Maps and find, for example, the metro stop where I’ll arrive, and then just “Street View” my way to the building I’m trying to find. This is possible because Google, with its seemingly endless supply of capital, sent out a fleet of vans, cars, and “trikes” (basically bikes with a giant tripod attached to the back) with overhead mounted cameras to capture images from roadways all over the world. It’s all fun and games until someone’s privacy is invaded . . .horse-boy

The first lawsuits started rolling in soon after Street View was unveiled to the public. One couple from a Pittsburgh, PA suburb sued, saying that the Street View images violated their privacy, devalued their property, and caused them mental anguish. But it’s not only private citizens that want in on the action. Germany is the latest in a long stream of governments who have either taken some sort of action or have publicly stated that Google may have acted outside of the law by posting images of sidewalks and building facades.

Outside of people being caught in embarrassing pictures — and other images that make some giggle — is there anything wrong with what Google is doing?

Chris Lantz

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