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Google's Bangalore Streetview Project Stalled

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the not-in-my-town dept.

Google 108

GillBates0 writes "The Bangalore Police have objected to the collection of data by Google's cars, which were criss-crossing Bangalore city taking high definition images to give users 360 degree views of streets. Talking about the security concerns in an earlier interview with CNN-IBN, Google India Product Head Vinay Goel said, 'We are only driving on public roads and taking publicly available imagery so what we are not doing is going into a specific installation and taking private pictures and obviously we are working with the authorities so if there are certain locations they don't want us to be there we won't go there, we are happy working with the authorities here.'"

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pff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36538712)

if they've innocent, they've got nothing to hide

Re:pff (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540158)

That's what they said about Pakistan.

I'm mildly disappointed (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538726)

From TFA:

Bangalore has several top security installments like ISRO, DRDO and HAL and the fear could be that a 360 degree view of the roads leading to them could be used by a terrorist in the future.

So THAT is what their concern with Streetview is. Always terror and terrorism isn't it, when in reality, the real concern is that, public images or not, people might actually not like living in a f*ing worldwide Panopticon...

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538754)

Street View is a bunch of still images stitched together in a useful way, which is far from a panopticon. The same gripes Google is getting, street photographers have been getting for much longer, but it hasn't ended up in the press until recently.

As for the terrorism angle, yeah, that's just a crock, but it always is when it comes to photography.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (4, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538926)

Oh please. When was the last time a photographer went around the world to take a picture of every single fscking road? Never, that's when. Scale makes all the difference in many things.

For example, steal a penny from a single person, that's nothing serious. Steal a penny from every single person in America, pretty soon you're talking about real money (or staplers, at least).

Copy a page from a book, that's fair use. Copy every single page from a book, that's copyright infringement.

Smoke a cigarette once, you'll probably not get lung cancer. Smoke 12 packs a day every single day of your life, you'll probably get lung cancer.

So yeah, Street View is completely different from a photographer taking pictures.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (0)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539082)

Oh please. When was the last time a photographer went around the world to take a picture of every single fscking road?

Does the quantity really matter? Would you feel less concerned if "only" your entire city and your whereabouts was photographed?

Or even just the city block where you live?

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36543872)

Yes. Quantity and intent go hand in hand.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (4, Insightful)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539402)

Indeed. Quantitative differences do add up to qualitative differences. On the flipside, googles streetview doesn't disproportionally focus on "interesting" subjects like photographers do, thus despite being "public" most of the things photographed in streetview are still quite anonymous.

The most creepy databases by far these days, must be those of mobile-phone-companies. The level of detail they capture 24x7x365 about literally 95% of the population above age 12, is *staggering*, and they've got demographic data on most of those subscribers too.

A close-to-complete social map, for example, should be fairly doable to construct, just from observing who calls eachothers or send SMS to eachothers, you can even assign fairly accurate weights to the relationships based on frequency of call/sms and frequency and duration of being in the same spots.

They need to know what base-station your phone is near right now, for the technic to work. But why they are allowed to, or indeed in some cases *required* to keep this data for months or years, is beyond me.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539796)

A close-to-complete social map, for example, should be fairly doable to construct, just from observing who calls eachothers or send SMS to eachothers, you can even assign fairly accurate weights to the relationships based on frequency of call/sms and frequency and duration of being in the same spots.

Not "should be possible", "is happening."

I can tell you for certain this is taking place and they are collecting and already using this data to try and make more money. One of the things they look for is for who are the "influencers." For example, they have noted that certain people send short text messages and make short outgoing calls, but often get many responses that are much longer. Think of someone who just says "sup?" and 10 people respond with big stories about their day or offers to hang out, etc.

These people are often offered discounted phones or given excellent customer service or some other such special treatment. Mostly without ever even knowing.

The Economist has an excellent article on it all: http://www.economist.com/node/16910031 [economist.com]

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540914)

A close-to-complete social map, for example, should be fairly doable to construct, just from observing who calls eachothers or send SMS to eachothers, you can even assign fairly accurate weights to the relationships based on frequency of call/sms and frequency and duration of being in the same spots.

I would have agreed with that a couple of years ago. But in the more recent past, I've been using social media sites and IM (using my phone, no less) for the same. In fact, while I was in college and high-school, it was mostly IM and email chains. So, the "closeness" determination by SMS/calls would look a little skewed, since they would all be work related calls.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

WNight (23683) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546396)

Oh please. I'm sure people made almost identical arguments against maps.

"With every road fully listed criminals will know where everything is, and every road the police could use to catch them! Maps are only okay when they're of small disconnected areas so that you could never use a map to tell how to get from here to there, or anything else dangerous."

Even if this stuff was so dangerous people could simply record their own by driving the path once with a cell-phone recording video. The cat has fully removed itself from the bag and is not going back. If that scares you, ask yourself what you don't want seen and what you could do to fix it.

"Secret phonebook problem" variant (1)

mrheckman (939480) | more than 3 years ago | (#36548026)

>Scale makes all the difference in many things.

The argument against Google's streetview seems to be a variant of the "secretive government agency phone book problem", In that example, the entire phone book is classified but individual numbers are not.

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:-x18fG3G-ioJ:www.acsac.org/secshelf/book001/24.pdf+&hl=en&gl=us [googleusercontent.com]

Similarly, Google is right that it is taking pictures of public streets, which people are generally free to do (sensitive locations notwithstanding), but the objection is to the compendium of pictures as a whole. This seems to many to be a security problem, possibly because of how easy it makes it for someone to do reconnaissance without actually visiting and taking their own photos, the act of which, presumably, could be detected.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (0)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539072)

I don't get what the problem is with a f*ing worldwide Panopticon. I seriously wouldn't mind. Even if the lot surrounding our house has no fence, and you could see us, say, sleeping outside on the hammock. Big f*ing deal.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539312)

The problem is that India's the main target for a large portion of muslim terrorists (Pakistani). They *will* use this to plan attacks on innocents, just like Iraqi muslim terrorists did. They may even use it to find places with large crowds to bomb them.

And frankly, you can't seriously deny the usefulness of this imagery for terrorists. Getting maps of the target locations was one of the main problems of military operations until spy satellites really advanced, up until 1950 at least. For terrorists, maps and reconnaissance is still one of the main problems preventing them from mounting operations, so just giving the data to them is *not* good policy seen from this light.

You can't seriously be doubting this, so please, give the authorities some credit. Their claims are not without merit.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36540152)

"You can't seriously" expect to be taken seriously, no. You can't seriously expect people not to think you're working for some part of the Indian government.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

plsenjy (2104800) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541384)

You can't seriously not think that events like the terrorist attacks in Mumbai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/November_2008_Mumbai_attacks) do not seriously affect the Indian government's actions. Even Bangalore was rocked with bombings in July that year. You can bet that they're going to do everything to ensure that another string of bombings doesn't occur there.

Anecdotal evidence: I was traveling through Jammu (the state neighboring Kashmir) just after Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. The entire place was on lockdown. The roads were swarming with military, army bases were being reactivated and I had to show my papers at roadside checkpoints throughout the state. This was after an event where India had not been attacked, had no hand in a conflict, and yet they legitimately feared that destabilization in Pakistan would lead to attacks on their soil. Yes, the Indian government takes precautions against terrorists, and they probably have more merit to do so (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_India) than some of the steps our government has taken.

In the US we live next to two countries that are friendly with us (or the militant factions within the country are reliant on cash/gun flow from the drug trade in the US in order to stay in business). It's hard for us to understand a mindset where extremist factions within our neighboring country have committed numerous horrendous terrorist attacks on our soil. Yes, you want to control the amount of information those guys have, because that information is what they need to execute their attacks. It's not like they're stopping Google techs from mapping out suburban Toledo; this is Google providing a most detailed map of one of India's financial centers and a certain target for terrorists.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36544998)

I can understand fearing bombs and I can understand using checkpoints to thwart them. But banning photography is asinine. You don't need photography to know that a skyscraper has lots of people in it during the day. You don't need photography to know where a bank is when it says "bank" on the sign outside. The hard part of planning a terrorist attack is not figuring out what to shoot / blow up.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540296)

I reject the notion that we must hide any and all information that could be remotely useful to terrorists and criminals.

Might as well take down every site that describes how locks work, how cars are wired, how explosives are made, how to use a gun, etc. etc. etc.

That's where this goes if you start cherry-picking and saying "this information, despite being public knowledge, is not safe."

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539380)

I don't have a problem with your mother being my sex slave.

Fortunately, rights aren't about one person's preference getting to determine everyone's way of life.

Mostly.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540450)

I don't get what the problem is with a f*ing worldwide Panopticon. I seriously wouldn't mind. Even if the lot surrounding our house has no fence, and you could see us, say, sleeping outside on the hammock. Big f*ing deal.

I don't think you're going to get many supporters of that view here.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36545798)

Life is full of tradeoffs. Being seen in real time from a public right of way is the least of my concerns.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538870)

...Quick ban all maps ....

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36538886)

well, the real question is how is Bangalore different from any other indian locale? because they say that they're "top hub for tech"? it's not. but this is something to do for the police chief while waiting for brib.. uups, further assurances. the police can object to anything over there, but rarely do.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36551638)

Uh, they are India's Santa Clara Valley. Yeah, India does have other major tech centers, like Hyderabad, Gurgaon, et al, but none of them come close to Bangalore.

Truth strikes (1)

WNight (23683) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539006)

Instead of bitching about the new reality make use of the tools it provides to help wipe out corruption.

Re:Truth strikes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539474)

http://www.ipaidabribe.com/ [ipaidabribe.com] is very nice, but they could use a faster server and some integration with google maps.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (4, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539078)

India has had a problem with Google, Mapquest and everyone else since the Mumbai Terror Attacks in 2008.

Remember that? 164 dead, over 300 wounded and the terrorists used Google Earth to pan the attacks and figure out where to go.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/3691723/Mumbai-attacks-Indian-suit-against-Google-Earth-over-image-use-by-terrorists.html [telegraph.co.uk]

So maybe India has a reason to have a problem with Google Streetview

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539184)

Yeah, they should ban all map printing companies, too. Seriously, its plain terrorist collaboration. And toothbrush producers too, be a responsible citizen, do not aid terrorist in planning attacks with clean teeths!
It really feels surreal, its like in good old communism, where there has been this big treacherous enemies called capitalist, everything could be banned to not facilitate their possible plots.
And nobody cares. I wonder if people from so called "western democracies" know what auto-censorship is.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539718)

Well, to be fair he just said they had a reason, not that it was a rational reason. People do tend to overreact due to the anxiety created by such things. So while I agree that it's important to keep a cool head and try not to do things like this, derriding them might not be the best bet at calming the nerves.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539406)

Yeah that's terrible. It's 0.01% of the people who died from unnatural causes that year.

Maybe instead of trying to invent a technical solution to prevent idiot-terrorism they should, you know, address the problem directly.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (2)

aevan (903814) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541798)

So it's pretty much the asian 9/11? They should instead lock their country down into 'patriotic laws' and invade Nepal?

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36551578)

Preferably Pakistan (and Bangladesh). Nepal has been problematic, but nowhere near these 2.

Except that India attacking Pakistan would be the equivalent of the US attacking China in retaliation for a Chinese terror attack on the US. While the US is overwhelmingly superior to Pakistan militarily, India ain't, which is why despite several terrorist attacks both before & after 9/11, there has been little action from that government.

I would like Streetview to be able to provide pics of every major Indian city, but I can see why Indian authorities are very nervous not about such projects themselves, but the way such projects could be misused by terrorists to plan attacks like the ones described above

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546686)

Like invading Pakistan and destroying the ISI?

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

WNight (23683) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546640)

164 dead, over 300 wounded

Oh my! That's like two days traffic fatalities. Perhaps they're missing the bigger picture?

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36551488)

Like the fact that a million other services and devices were used besides google earth in order to kill those people, but because this is new scary innovation, it is an easy scapegoat for blame.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539164)

Not to mention that they probably did not bribe the right officials. :)

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539534)

It's even worse than they realize: terrorists could also use the roads leading to those installations.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

enupten (2036924) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539590)

Well, sure Terrorism might sound like a cliche to Americans, but before 26/11 in Mumbai, there was a similar - albeit on a smaller scale - at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore in 2008. There are bomb blasts every other week in India. If the Indian government had an inkling for war, the "terrorism" issue would do miracles by the way of propaganda.

Re:I'm mildly disappointed (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542766)

And this is why the terrorists have won. We're terrorized. Mission accomplished.

Smell that? (1)

gregor-e (136142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36544280)

I think the opening sentence of the summary might be more accurately rephrased: "The Bangalore Police have sensed an opportunity for a jolly fat slice of baksheesh from Google, and have hence objected to the collection of data by Google's cars". A company that size ought to be able to pay a few million USD to help the Bangalore Police address these security concerns, neh?

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How to make a man sound flustered (1)

gtch (1977476) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538818)

"'We are only driving on public roads and taking publicly available imagery so what we are not doing is going into a specific installation and taking private pictures and obviously we are working with the authorities so if there are certain locations they don't want us to be there we won't go there, we are happy working with the authorities here."

61 words in a single sentence makes Google sound rather flustered by the accusation.

This manager would sound much more relaxed with a bit of punctuation:

"'We are only driving on public roads and taking publicly available imagery. So what we are not doing is going into a specific installation — and taking private pictures. And obviously we are working with the authorities. So if there are certain locations they don't want us to be there, we won't go there. We are happy working with the authorities here."

Re:How to make a man sound flustered (1)

vinehair (1937606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538920)

Actually the long run-on sentences in English genuinely seems to be a common dialect artifact that I've seen from Middle Eastern folk, such as my Pakistani co-workers who have almost exactly the same grammar and sentence length. It's especially common if they're explaining anything. If anything, it adds authenticity for me because as I was reading it, I was just pleased that Google at least hired some local talent for their India product team!

Re:How to make a man sound flustered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36538990)

FYI, India and Pakistian are not in the Middle East. They're in South Asia.

Re:How to make a man sound flustered (1)

vinehair (1937606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539064)

Thanks - my geography sucks and I won't pretend that I haven't automatically made that assumption on the basis of being around too many racist and ignorant 'folk'. Though I guess I'm one of the ignorant now, at least.

Re:How to make a man sound flustered (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539668)

Middle East and Far east are the two etymologies that you should be comparing. Just because something is in South Asia doesn't mean it's not in the Middle East (or, indeed the Far East). Most of what we'd term the Middle East is technically South West Asia (As Africa stops at the Sinai Peninsula, that part of Egypt is actually in Asia too) and I would include Pakistan in the sphere of "Middle East" more than Far East, but it's an interesting case though, as any further East you have the likes of China, Bhutan and Nepal, which are all definitely Far East, and any further West you have Iran and Afghanistan, which are both definitely Middle East.

The culture of Pakistan has more in common with their Western Neighbours in the Middle East than their Eastern Neighbours, however India is more of a mix of all the surrounding cultures.

I'd still maintain that saying Pakistan is Middle Eastern is still correct. Saying India is Middle Eastern, less so, but forgivable.

Re:How to make a man sound flustered (1)

Whatshisface (1203604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539748)

There is no official definition for "Middle East" but it generally refers to the Arabic-speaking countries of South West Asia and North Africa (plus Iran). Even Afghanistan is debatable, and Pakistan does not qualify at all. The only reason you or anyone else qualifies Pakistan as Middle East is because it is an Islamic country, by which definition Indonesia should be in there as well. In every other way, in terms of language, culture, ethnicity, Pakistan is very similar to India. Maybe that's because they were one country till 60 years ago?

Re:How to make a man sound flustered (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539942)

I know quite a bit about the history of Pakistan and India, and while elements of Indian culture remains, the forced division of the country by the collapse of the British Empire caused alot of that to disappear. It's also the reason Pakistan is a predominately Muslim country. When the division was created, most of the Hindu tribes living on the border region fled to India (around 12 million of them), leading directly to conflicts between India and Pakistan, pushing Pakistan to not only turn to it's neighbours for support, but also created it's own distinct culture, encompassing many elements of their new allies and somewhat shunning old Indian traditions.

From Wikipedia: American naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan used the term in 1902[3] to 'designate the area between Arabia and India'. now, correct me if I'm wrong, but Pakistan (while formerly India) is now Between Arabia and India.

My own definition would be anything between the Red Sea/East Med shore and the Indus River that bisects the Indian subcontinent.

As for the run-on sentences, I'd call that an Indian phenomenon, rather than an Arab one. I've spoken to quite a few Arabs and they don't have that issue, but all the Indian friends I've got speak in extended sentences more often than not.

Re:How to make a man sound flustered (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540532)

My own definition would be anything between the Red Sea/East Med shore and the Indus River that bisects the Indian subcontinent.

The thing is, your definition is wrong. Pakistanis no more in the Middle East than Chicago.

Re:How to make a man sound flustered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36551698)

I agree w/ Canazza. Yeah, Pakistan has rarely met the definitions of 'Middle East', and describing Pakistan, along w/ Afghanistan and all the countries b/w Russia, China & the Caspian as Central Asia is probably more accurate. Centcom, for instance, includes Pakistan, but not India, in its jurisdiction.

Historically, Pakistan was similar to India, but while language & ethnicity is similar to India, culture has more in common w/ the middle east, which should be expected, since culture in Islamic countries is a derivative of religion. Also, Pakistan is Islamic and contiguous w/ the middle east: Indonesia isn't (and you can throw in Malaysia, Brunei & Bangladesh as well here). When people use Middle East as a code for Islamic hotspots, which are related, and particularly in context of discussions on Jihad, it's forgivable to include Pakistan in that mix. Less so countries like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and those countries. Not to overlook the fact that Pakistan would be thrilled to be bunched in the Middle East, rather than their infidel neighbors to their east.

My only disagreement w/ Canazza is that India doesn't fall under Middle East by any definition. Nor Far East. It's okay to stretch South East Asia to include it, but just barely. India has more in common w/ countries like China, Vietnam, Thailand, etc than it does w/ Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, et al.

Re:How to make a man sound flustered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539192)

Pakistan != Middle East

Re:How to make a man sound flustered (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539004)

This manager would sound much more relaxed with a bit of punctuation:

The guy was talking, not writing. Any punctuation was imagined by the reporter or editor.

If you simply write down exactly what someone says in an unscripted interview, it's easy to make them look like a doofus by including every umm, err, false start. Most people don't speak in perfect prose.

Re:How to make a man sound flustered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539008)

In Indian/Pakistani English, there is no punctuation. They can rattle away for hours on end without ever taking a breath: rattattattattat... It really sounds like a human machine gun when they speak.

Re:How to make a man sound flustered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539644)

> In Indian/Pakistani English, there is no punctuation

You are so right my dear sir that I can not thank you enough for your insightfulness into our cultures which as a foreigner must have been very hard to come buy and yet not impossible as you have demonstrated even though I would like to let you know that your observation is not completely accurate and a lot of people do take a break after every 15 minutes which signifies the presence punctuation but otherwise you would be right about it in most circumstance and that can be attributed to having such a large population that we hardly get time to get our point across and if you do not acquire such skills as talking without punctuation then it is difficult to survive and as Shri Shri Guru Ghantal said in his previous incarnation that "if you use punctuation then you are not going to survive" and here I thank you kind sir again to listen to me for such a long time on such a short notice and good night.

Re:How to make a man sound flustered (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540192)

Why don't you go ahead and catch syphillis? Bonus points if you're jumping in a fire at the same time.

Real reason: (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538850)

Insufficient greasing of palms so far - Google is rich, so....

What are they hiding? (2, Funny)

souravzzz (2001514) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538902)

Stupid Indian cops are afraid that a car will capture them taking bribe or sleeping instead of working.

Re:What are they hiding? (1)

cranil (1983560) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539036)

especially the traffic cops :-/

Re:What are they hiding? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539708)

No need to be so judgemental. India has some serious paranoia around photography, due to terrorism. When we were there on holiday, we were told for instance that it might not be a good idea to take photos at railway stations if we valued our cameras.

Re:What are they hiding? (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 3 years ago | (#36550912)

that might have been due to a risk of some guy snatching away your camera.

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Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (3, Interesting)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538952)

Although similar complaints have been heard for the last couple of years, Google keep pretending they do not understand it. Arguments like "but we only take pictures of public areas" are just silly and besides the point.
Google ignore the fact that there is a massive difference between a public place being public and a public place being available to everyone on the internet (including data gathering servers, and all kinds of face recognition technologies).

And anyway, they accidentally take lots of pictures of not-so-public places because open doors/windows offer a glimpse into private houses and companies.

Google also always place the responsibility for pointing out what cannot be put on the internet with other people/companies/authorities. It's like the checkbox saying 'no, I don't want advertisement', which if left unchecked will get you on some spam email list. Right now, other people/companies/authorities spend a lot of time (and time = money) to get pictures off the internet. I think that Google should be paying for that time spent.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (1)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538994)

Not that it undermines the main thrust of your argument, but I feel that sloppy investigating on your part makes you look weak - Specifically:

Google's the world leader in face recognition technology. It uses this technology to identify faces in streetview and blur them out. The best you can rant about is that Google themselves may have a private database of times when people who've been tagged elsewhere in Google have wandered past a streetview car at a particular time. For the rest of us, there's always "that's blatantly your shirt in streetview!"

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539188)

You make a fair point that the pictures are only available to Google's own face recognition technologies... and until now not to third party technologies.

My sloppy investigation indeed did not tell me whether the unblurred pictures or the blurred pictures (or both) are stored at Google's servers. Do you know by any chance? In other words: is there any chance that Google will sell the unblurred pictures to third parties in the future?

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539462)

is there any chance that Google will sell the unblurred pictures to third parties in the future?

Who in their right fucking mind gives a shit? You're asking the police to quash a perfectly legal operation because someone might have an unblurred picture of a complete stranger and might sell that to someone who might piece together who is in the photo (amidst billions of photos/people) and said third party might use it for some unspecified underhanded purpose.

Tin foil hat much?

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539974)

is there any chance that Google will sell the unblurred pictures to third parties in the future?

Who in their right fucking mind gives a shit? You're asking the police to quash a perfectly legal operation because someone might have an unblurred picture of a complete stranger and might sell that to someone who might piece together who is in the photo (amidst billions of photos/people) and said third party might use it for some unspecified underhanded purpose.

Tin foil hat much?

No, I'm not talking about one single picture. Nobody in the 'right fucking mind gives a shit'. And I also do not wish to obstruct police investigations.

I'm talking about Google being (perhaps) able to sell pictures of a couple billion people... They can sell the rights to all the streetview pictures at once. And that has a commercial interest. And it can get coupled to Facebook or another huge website (where you can tag your friends). Suddenly large companies have even more interesting information for targeted advertisements. Once such information becomes available in bulk (that's the keyword: bulk) it is interesting for many different purposes.

And why do I care about privacy? Not only because I hate advertisements. Reason is simple: because it's nobody's business except me.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36544906)

While I have no hard evidence either way, I'd be inclined to think not. I'd suspect the legal fees from lawsuits (EFF, EPIC etc) and the bad press would outweigh the money to be made from selling the unblurred faces.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (4, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539038)

Google ignore the fact that there is a massive difference between a public place being public and a public place being available to everyone on the internet (including data gathering servers, and all kinds of face recognition technologies).

Your argument would apply not only to Google, but everyone who puts any picture on their blog/Facebook/Twitter/emails to his auntie.

Any photo on the Internet is available to EVERYONE in the world. If you stop Google doing it, you must stop everyone. If Google bends over, then the precedent is pretty awful for everyone else.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (0)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539152)

Any photo on the Internet is available to EVERYONE in the world. If you stop Google doing it, you must stop everyone.

What kind of bizarre ass-backwards broken logic is that?

Those people get to choose whether or not they put pictures on the internet. They do not get to choose whether google puts pictures of them on the internet.

You're also getting awfully close to the whole "corporations are people" line of thinking. They are not and I see no good reason why corporations and people should be held to the same standards of behaviour.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (1)

thej1nx (763573) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539182)

So you will have no problems with this, if Google maps was an open-source project run by "a bunch of people" instead of a corporation?

Focusing on the wrong thing, aren't we?

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539296)

So you will have no problems with this, if Google maps was an open-source project run by "a bunch of people" instead of a corporation?

Are you claiming that corporation behavoiur shouldn't be regulated, or that this is not a case where it should be regulated?

What you suggest is an interesting philosophical point. Of course, there is always a complete continuum from entirely acceptable behaviour to entirely unacceptable behaviour. The line generally needs to be drawn somewhere and it will always seem unfair to the person just on the wrong side of that line.

The thing with a bunch of people is that it is much harder to scale up, unless they get some kind of revenue. At that point it no longer becomes a bunch of people.

Focusing on the wrong thing, aren't we?

I don't think so. I think this is as good an example as any to determine whether corporations should be able to do as much as people.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (1)

thej1nx (763573) | more than 3 years ago | (#36551456)

I didn't claim any such thing.

I guess I will need to be more explicit. It shouldn't matter here whether it was a "corporation" doing this or if it was a bunch of people doing it. Is the thing they are doing, a problem in itself?

And it is hard to scale up open-source/crowd-sourced projects? What have you been smoking? You lack the imagination, I am afraid. But for hints, I will recommend a look at the entire Linux community or even all of the flicker/twitter/internet/whatnot(when you consider that it is "a bunch of people"(pretty much everyone) who are providing the content. To be more specific, any of the "corporation" is essentially a "bunch of people" hiding behind a fake entity. Let us say they are hiring a team of 80 developers to work on google maps. Are you saying that same cannot be theoretically done by another group of equally-skilled 80 developers who join a similar project voluntarily? Much of satellite images that Googlemaps uses, are in public domain anyways. And what will you do then???? Will you be okay with the images being uploaded then? Community run projects can run sufficient revenue as well btw, via donations or ads etc.

What is to stop Google from "donating" to such a community project(developer time/cash/servers) and come up with exactly the same thing that they have now? What will you do then? Stop corporations from donating anything to opensource projects(linux/apache etc) completely?

So basically your gripe is not whether someone can upload pics of your house on the net or not. Your problem is simply "I dislike xyz. I will allow everyone except xyz to upload such pics". Which is kind of silly.

Corporation as people is indeed stupid. But your sole argument here seems to be "Corporations are evil! I will never allow them to do stuff". It is you who seems to be arguing that a corporation is a separate entity instead of just "a bunch of people" hiding behind a fake name.

What we were talking about was, whether there is actually any problem with the act of taking photos of public streets etc.

     

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (2)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539290)

Those people get to choose whether or not they put pictures on the internet. They do not get to choose whether google puts pictures of them on the internet.

So you're saying that this guy got the permission of the ~400 people in this photo?:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wesbs/5273648283/ [flickr.com]

There are lots of geotagged or labelled images on the web now, and the trend is clearly upward. Lots of people over-shard on Facebook, and yes that includes people who might take your photo and not ask you before uploading it. Google may have good coverage, but open photo sites are easier to scrape and make no attempt to blur faces. Facebook has just-enough-to-be-reasonable controls, but now it's actively scanning for faces.

Say what you want about "righteous standards of behavior", but the horse left the barn a long time ago.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540420)

Technology will catch up; eventually you'll be able to scan photos for your face, and then, laws permitting, commence with a 'pay up or take it down' action.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540932)

So you're saying that this guy got the permission of the ~400 people in this photo?:

Try reading the parent post I was replying to. It was about people putting up photos of themselves.

While your point is valid, it has nothing to do with what I was saying.

Say what you want about "righteous standards of behavior", but the horse left the barn a long time ago.

I didn't say anything about "righteous standards of behavior", so I've no idea why you have it in quotes like that.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (2)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539330)

Those people get to choose whether or not they put pictures on the internet. They do not get to choose whether google puts pictures of them on the internet.

Well, "bizarre ass-backwards broken logic" indeed. Many people are "choosing" to put pictures of OTHER PEOPLE on the Internet, and those that seek permission from the subjects would be a very small minority.Good luck trying to stop a bunch of teenagers from putting up their snaps, or videos, if they catch you doing something embarrassing in a street alley.

You're also getting awfully close to the whole "corporations are people" line of thinking.

Well, by default, they are. But if you want to have laws that people can do this, but corporations can't, you'd better get lobbying.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539694)

The parent's point is that if you take a picture of your neighbour's disgusting yard, post it on your blog with an embarrassing message, they could ask you to take it down, even though it's public. This would not be a good precedent to set.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540038)

Those people get to choose whether or not they put pictures on the internet.

No, they don't. The person putting up the picture chooses, but does everyone in the picture get to choose? No, they do not. They're along for ride whether they wish it or not.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542096)

In Sweden you can upload pictures of people taken in public spaces. However those pictures may not be used commercially without the permission of those in the picture. Now the question is, will a Swedish law find google to be using the pictures commercially or not.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539332)

your point is moot, Google blurs every face, even those of horses.

So face recognition is out of the question, and i've never seen an picture of 'not-so-public' places. Because the pictures are taken in broad daylight, even the red light district in amsterdam is SFW. (or not NFSW)

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539608)

Google ignore the fact that there is a massive difference between a public place being public and a public place being available to everyone on the internet (including data gathering servers, and all kinds of face recognition technologies).

That, or you ignore the fact that legally and for all purposes of the word public, there isn't.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540018)

Google ignore the fact that there is a massive difference between a public place being public and a public place being available to everyone on the internet (including data gathering servers, and all kinds of face recognition technologies).

No, they're recognizing the fact that this difference WILL go away. It might be Google who does it, or it might be someone less well-known (and less monitored). But someone will do it.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540032)

That might be an argument in India for the time being, but is completely laughable in the Western countries that have pervasive video surveillance. And even in India people should be far more concerned with the drones with missiles under their wings watching them.

Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36543888)

The Street View Subaru vehicle uses a mast with something like 9 smaller cameras and 4 wide cameras in a spherical type of arrangement strapped to the roof of the vehicle. The driver also has a table mounted laptop suspended over the passenger seat, it is not known if that laptop is only being used for panoramas or if it is still sniffing the wireless networks.

They have to understand that using that many cameras at a time in a spy camera type of arrangement is going to end up capturing more than just streets, buildings, trees, and bushes.

"We'd be happy to work with them.." (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539042)

Why do people say "I'll/We'll be happy to [__insert_pain_in_the_ass_here__] ".

They never really mean it. I mean, for example why would google be happy to inconvenience themselves .. seriously? Feel good corporate speak. /rant off

Re:"We'd be happy to work with them.." (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539510)

It's a phrase people often use to emphasize, somewhat diplomatically, that they're making an effort to cooperate with someone who's being a pain in the ass.

It's not really "corporate" in any way.

Re:"We'd be happy to work with them.." (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539816)

With all due respect, its irregardless of all things Holy.

How much is Walking Stick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539122)

When bouncing ball [hibouncingballs.com] we went up to her memorial service, I had to speak, to say how I knew her as a baby, as a child. Of all the hundreds of guests there, I was the only one who had known her before her marriage. I had changed her diapers, as it were. Later in the familyâ(TM)s home, her daughters were showing me some of her âoeheirlooms,â not knowing really what they were or where they came from: An old desk that I told them had belonged to my grandmother, their great- grandmother. A walking stick [chinawalkingstick.com] sword that I recognized from their great-grandfatherâ(TM)s WWII Army uniform. Another sword that a great-great-uncle had carried in the Civil War, in the 8th Indiana Cavalry. But older than all of these was an ebony walking stick with a silver knob handle engraved with the name of their great-great-grandfather Henry Conrad Dannettell, born in Amiens, France, in October, 1815, six months after the Battle of Waterloo.

His father was a farrier, a blacksmith paper storage box [papercrafts086.com] who shod the horses in the cavalry of the Kingâ(TM)s German Legion, which fought against Napoleon in 1815. My nieces offered me these treasures since I was the only one left of my family. I could tell they were reluctant to give them up. I left the Civil War Cavalry sword, since one of the girls thought it was âoereally cool,â and was engraved with the name of its owner, Captain Melancthon Quivrain Dannettell. She reads me regularly in The Citizen online and wrote me an evocative letter recently:The âoewalking stickâ reminded me of two things. A couple of years ago, we went climbing Mt. Whitney, 14,000-some feet. The oxygen beach towel supplier [chinabeachtowels.com] gets a little thin around 12,000 and climbing becomes reduced to a step or two and stop to catch your breath. Ollie sat down against a rock to rest and fell asleep.

Public Service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539156)

Quit complaining, you get your city/country mapped out for free. If you're worried about having a photo taken of you while walking around your house naked, then close the damn curtain. As far as the police are concerned, I think they just want money... it seems all police in the third world just want money, it's like the perk of their job, they're like the fricken mafia.

better pics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539260)

The American Gov has much better pictures than google. They dont tell you or give a f*ck if they can see down your girlfriends top and count her freckles.

Coming soon - Google StreetListen (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539350)

A record of all conversations and sounds audible from public places.

Record this - "Fsck you Brin and Page"

Clippy joins the conversation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539678)

Google India Product Head Vinay Goel said, 'We are only driving on public roads and taking publicly available imagery so what we are not doing is going into a specific installation and taking private pictures and obviously we are working with the authorities so if there are certain locations they don't want us to be there we won't go there, we are happy working with the authorities here.'"

To which Microsoft Word replied, "Long sentence (no suggestions)"

Forgot to bribe the official? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539688)

Likely that Google forgot to bribe the relevant officials in Bangalore hence they are flexing their muscles now.

Have you been to Bangalore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36540146)

All you see are corrugated metal shacks, and a lot of bad driving. And the power goes out once an hour.
Google, I just saved you millions of dollars. I expect my check by next week.

Bribe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541166)

They want a bribe!

Old notions of private and public are dated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541628)

Seriously, we need to redefine our terminology for classification before we go forward in the digital age.

"Private" used to mean things which only a select few with a reason to know could see.

"Public" used to mean things which were available to any interested party, with access partially limited by the opportunity cost of the human effort required for viewing.

The digital age has brought forth the ability for anyone on the planet to take interest in the most minute detail anywhere in the world, whether it be goofy kid photos digitized from your primary school yearbook, the inconsequential ramblings you post on Facebook, or what the outside of your dwelling looks like.

One camp says, "It should be private because it is intrusive, with possible detriment to certain parties."

Another camp says, "It should be public because anyone can see it from a public street."

Very few seem to be discussing shades of grey in the scope of access when the purpose is low-value mass consumption of minutiae.

Obviously, our bank account numbers should be private. Likewise, the proceedings of governance should be public.

What about a court trial? We need open courts for transparency, but should the access policy allow video cameras in every courtroom feeding an eternal online archive, letting the media and the public gawk at others, and turn justice into another pop culture mode of entertainment?

What about land records? We need open land records to prevent fraud, but should the access policy allow dozens of real estate aggragators to build a business model of making the personal property holdings of any person available with a couple of free clicks on the Internet, primarily available for marketing and the gawking public (the access policy used to stop this by requiring a mild amount of effort to access one specific record, done typically by people with some useful purpose for knowing)?

What about your tweets? They may be openly accessible, but should they be stored and archived for all eternity so a tabloid 20 years from now can dredge up things you said today for some purpose likely less-than-productive?

Until policymakers and the public at large adds the dimension of access policy to the false dichotomy of public/private then we will continue having these flawed discussions lacking sensible shades of grey. Consensus should be rational, and for it to be rational, it needs to incorporate all the salient facts.

If we let the flawed definition of "private" win then information is locked up behind layers of laws and remains unavailable for many productive uses.

If we let the flawed definition of "public" win then anyone who is not a hermit becomes an unfree participant in a worldwide, lifelong reality entertainment program.

A rather unpleasant thought (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36543302)

...we are happy working with the authorities...

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