Google Maps Street View: Moral Panic Update

Boing Boing’s Xeni Jardin asks, “Would we feel differently about street-level image mapping if it were done by a government agency? … Cameras aren’t new, maps aren’t new, the internet isn’t new, nor is Google or Microsoft. So why does this feel so freshly creepy to so many?”

Xeni also links to a post by John Battelle in which he muses, “How long till this becomes live video? Think about this for a moment.” Yes, indeed: think about it. For this to be live video, there would have to be cameras on every street. If there were, we would have far bigger problems than whether the video feed was on the Internet.

Someone who hasn’t thought about it is Fast Company’s Lisa LaMotta, who, in equating the service with stalking, calls the images “real-time.” Um, no. Via Anything Geospatial.

Despite the inflammatory headline, and a story that seems to conflate satellite/aerial and street-level imagery, the gist of the quotes in this PC World article is that everyone should chill. Ditto Lance Ulanoff, who has this quotable gem: “[T]o be fair, these images are a moment in time. That poor schlub isn’t standing on the street in front of that strip club today. He was there weeks, months, or even more than a year ago. Of course, let him try telling that to his wife.” Via All Points Blog.

So: not real-time stalking, more of an “I Know What You Did Last Summer” kind of thing.