Thursday, January 15, 2009
Big Brother is Watching You
Ever play with a program called Google Earth? It's a freebie you can download, and it's basically a series of maps of the entire world. Included is a satellite view, sharper in big cities than out in the country, and in some places, there is a street view, which can be downright spooky. If you live in a city on a well-traveled street, plug your address in, and what you get is as detailed as a photograph you'd shoot from the street, done with a so-so camera.
Now, of course, anybody can legally drive down your street and take pictures of the outside of your house -- there's no invasion of privacy involved unless they come peek in your window.
But it is somewhat disconcerting if you can find this picture of your house from any computer on the planet. A great tool for stalkers.
I had the program on my old computer and didn't port it to the new one. I wanted to look up an address today and thought, what-the-hell, I'll re-install it. And just for fun, I plugged in the street and number of a friend and activated the street view. Sure enough, the image came up.
Showed his house, his daughter standing in the front yard, and him, inside their garage -- door was up, so it was "public."
It gives one pause, it does.
I know there are millions of cameras out there -- supposedly more cameras than people in London, for example -- and that anything you do in public might be captured as a photo or video, but it is, as Darth Vader said ... disturbing.
My hot tub is under the tree canopy out back and you can't see it from above, but if it wasn't, I could flash you from thousands of miles away.
Welcome to the future ...