Is It That Difficult To Understand The Difference Between Public Data And Private Data?

from the apparently-so... dept

Just a little while after some folks in Pittsburgh, PA sued Google over its Street View offering, it appears that Google is getting ready to launch a similar offering in Australia. However, rather than celebrate a rather useful service, there’s a somewhat ridiculous newspaper article in Australia charging Google execs with hypocrisy for not revealing private data about Australian Google execs. It’s hard to see where the hypocrisy is here. Google is creating a database of public info, and the newspaper, by its own admission, was asking Google to give up private data on its execs. Despite what the newspaper implies, Google’s Street View doesn’t reveal who lives where — it just shows photos taken from public roadways, just as anyone would see driving up and down those same roads. To equate that with private data about executives is simply wrong.

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Comments on “Is It That Difficult To Understand The Difference Between Public Data And Private Data?”

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Alimas says:

Re: Speaking of hipocrites...


As one commenter and the article say, (and a little street view trip around the specified area shows,) it is a very high traffic area and the light was financed by the people living in the hotel (including Marissa) to improve the safety of them trying to get out of that side street.

It had nothing to do with Google, despite what that article author has apparently pulled out of his ass.
In the street view one can clearly see down the side street, perceive and dead end and garner that it wasn’t necessary to drive down it for the Google maps.

Boost says:

Re: Re: Speaking of hipocrites...

Meh, maybe if the kept some of their money and just rode bicycles to work (lord knows you can do it nearly all year in the Bay area) they woudln’t need a damned stoplight. But, hey, they did pay the city for it so who cares? Well, they should have to pay all the people that the stoplight inconveniences. Those people now have to pay more money in gasoline because of it.

I really don’t care…one more stop light in a congested city. If those people were smart, they’d leave the city.

PRMan (profile) says:


I don’t think the people suing Google are too moronic. The Google van took pictures of their backyard from the middle of their driveway. That’s not a public street or view and they have every right to be upset that Google invaded their privacy.

Still, Google took it down with a simple request, so short of a class action, I’m not sure what the point of the lawsuit is.

Now if Google was refusing to take it down, that would be different, but it looks like it was an honest mistake of taking pictures while the van driver was trying to turn around on a narrow road that becomes a driveway.

JohnMc (user link) says:

Not necessarily true

Though the delineation between public and private can be pretty clear, it appears that even Google can’t tell the difference. There are instances listed in the blog ‘
smoking gun’ that show clearly that in order to get the photographs of somebody’s garage they had to have infringed on a private drive OFF of a public street.


Alimas says:

Re: Not necessarily true

C’mon, are you kidding?
Thats the same driving error as the other claim.
The road (excuse me, driveway) appears just like any other road – even bearing a name apparently – “Goldenbrook Ln.”.

This sort of thing is going to happen on occasion just cause we often build our roadways in confusing manners.

Perhaps the driver assumed the folks taking in the data he gathered would realize his mistake? Perhaps he should have said something himself. Obviously more effort needs to be put into making sure the mapping is done accurately and respectfully.

But to imply this was deliberate trespassing seems to be taking some liberties with the photos on the page.

Jeremy says:


Are you kidding me? “Of course this will all go away as soon as some killer uses this project as a tool to commit homicide.” How is using the street view any different from driving/walking by the house and taking pictures? Oh, wait, its not. If someone is lazy enough to use this to see pictures of a house instead of actually going to the house, then they are probably lazy enough to not even attempt the homicide in the first place.

Daz says:

Retarded Aussie rag

Thats just trying to beat up a story out of nothing. The Australian is a pretty shit paper, though (probably still want the White Australia Policy brought back). I believe legally Google wouldn’t even have to remove license plate numbers and the like as they have promised to do, because if you can photograph it from a public place its legal (except in a few circumstances).

Scott Cleland (profile) says:

Google's abysmal record on privacy

This is Scott Cleland, President of Precursor LLC and Chairman of putting my “two cents” again on one of Mr. Masnick’s blogs strongly defending Google when Google may not be fully worthy of such a vigorous defense.
Google has serious privacy “issues” which I highlighted and documented with many links to mainstream sources — in this Precursorblog post on Google and privacy —

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