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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Google’s Street View case is unresolved because engineer refuses to talk

April 17th, 2012 by Susan Smith

One of the most audacious projects ever to come out of Google was the plan to photograph and map the inhabited world, one block at a time. But a report over the weekend from federal regulators has rekindled questions over exactly what the company was doing — questions the search giant has spent years trying not to answer.

The Federal Communications Commission censured Google for obstructing an inquiry into the Street View project, which had collected Internet communications from potentially millions of unknowing households as specially equipped cars drove slowly by.

But the investigation, described in an interim report, was left unresolved because a critical participant, the Google engineer in charge of the project, cited his Fifth Amendment right and declined to talk. It is unclear who else at Google might have known about the data gathering, or when they might have known.

The New York Times, April 17, 2012

Tags: , , , , ,

Categories: Google, mobile

5 Responses to “Google’s Street View case is unresolved because engineer refuses to talk”

  1. Eric Andelin says:

    I have nothing to hide from Google, I grant them permission and I get things in return. Heck they even listen to my ideas… I think while i’m sleeping.

  2. Kyle W. says:

    I completely agree with Eric, but we as users of GIS rely heavily on such information and statistics collected by various agencies as well as companies such as Google. The common person views this as an invasion of their privacy without even understanding the potential, and current use of information collected to better every aspect of our daily lives.

  3. John H says:

    I agree that these massive streams of data have the potential to make life better, however I’m increasingly feeling a Brave New World/1984 vibe (and I’m in the GIS industry!).

  4. gmo says:

    We get a lot from Google, and individuals may have nothing to hide, but Google is a corporation that is focused on its own bottom line, whatever other ideals they may profess at this moment, and they will pursue it relentlessly. If that means interfering with our ability to use data, get data, or maintain privacy, they will choose their own interests over yours. While this particular instance may not be worrisome – I don’t know – it pays to be vigilant.

    Machiavelli said, “Put not your faith in princes.” The necessary update is obvious.

  5. GMO says:

    We get a lot from Google, but it is a corporation that pursues its own financial interests relentlessly, whatever other messages it may broadcast now or in the future. If there is a conflict between that interest and ours, their choice will be obvious. Thus, we cannot rely on Google’s willingness to let us freely search, read, download, or whatever else we do now, nor should we assume that their interests are those of the individual.

    While this particular case may not be worrisome – and I don’t know about it – it pays to be vigilant. Machiavelli said, “Put not your faith in princes.” The modern update is obvious.

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