Saturday, 21 March 2009

The Man on the Street

Have you had a look at the new Google ‘Street View UK’ site yet? It’s a pleasant way to waste a few spare minutes, seeing street scenes that may be familiar to you.

To protect the people in the images, faces, car number plates and personal details like house names are blurred out to make them unrecognisable.

So far so good, but here’s the rub.

Google have been asked, and have complied, to withdraw some of the images, for example, a drunk puking up and a man walking into a sex shop.

I’m a God-fearing, decorous kind of guy whose, I hope, conduct is impeccable in public, so if you don’t want to be seen being sick in the street, don’t over indulge and if you’re ashamed of going into sex shops, why go in them?

I assume that other people, perhaps even people who know the aggrieved, were in the street at the time that these images were recorded, so why is it OK for them to witness these incidents take place, but not a web-surfer in Timbuktu or Ulan Bator?

So what’s the situation now? If I’m in the background in a news report of an MP being interviewed in the street on TV, or if my visage is captured in a press photograph whilst queuing at the January sales, (an unlikely scenario, I know, but roll with it), have I now the right to demand that these images are removed?

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