Ever decided to sun-tan in your back yard so you could have some privacy? Have you ever put a fence up or enjoyed a fence between you and your neighbors? These luxuries may soon be a thing of the past.
Google's recent acquisition of ImageAmerica, a leading orthoimagery provider puts the tiny details of your home in it's sight. Prior to it being 'Goobled up' (a term I just made up for another company being Gobbled up by Google) ImageAmerica already had the capability to take aerial digital photographs with six-inch resolution. Such resolution is extremely close-up and personal. Such resolution is tight enough, not only to be able to tell how many people are in your jacuzzi, but where they are sitting and what color their hair is. That is very, very detailed information.
What's more, the details of this capability are somewhat dated and current capability and information is unavailable as ImageAmerica's web site has too, been Goobled. So at the very least, Google now possesses the ability to spot you picking your nose behind the house, and may be approaching the ability to be able to tell what you found.
Now if I really wanted the intimate details of what goes on in my back yard revealed to the public, would I not just tear down the fences? Is there a reason that Google needs six-inch OR LESS resolution peeking into my house? It's not that I have anything to hide, necessarily, but if I wanted all my business to be viewed by the general public, I'd go live under a bridge by the freeway. Where is Google thinking that they now get such a right to get that up-close and personal? Are they just going to assume that they have the right to take detailed pictures of everybody's property and slam it up on Google Earth?
What's more, what if I was a criminal and was looking for the details of how your back yard was laid out for easy, clandestine access, or was looking for a vulnerable place on the roof of a business building to gain access? Is this the type of element we want available to all-comers? Is there a reason that the general public needs this type of power?
Do you remember when your first saw your house on Google Earth and marveled that you could see your car in your driveway? Well now imagine you can read the license plate. That is a little too close for comfort for me. Certainly the map-reliability aspects of such resolution would be great, but civilians do not possess an inherent right to be able to look into everybody else's personal business. Neither do terrorists.
And how soon before they bust out the infrared lens and then put it in real time? I'm just saying there has to be limits at some point in time and Google has not yet demonstrated an interest in such limits. Their direction at every step, as it relates to Google Earth, seems to be aimed at more and more exposure and less and less personal privacy. Where is the line going to be drawn and who is going to draw it? Do we want to leave it to Google to define what is appropriate and what is invasive? Dirty Harry said,"A man's got to know his limitations." So does a corporation.