Google Maps’ popular ‘street view’ mode is under scrutiny by Israeli officials

If you’re familiar with Google’s maps function, and you’re familiar with the ‘street view’ mode, then you’ve no doubt searched for your own home and been creeped out by the level of detail Google is capturing and the sheer scale of the operation.

For those of you who don’t know. Google’s ‘street view’ technology allows users to virtually explore the public streets around them by putting them in the perspective of someone driving down the road. The level of detail provided by the ever more high-tech camera-cars is significant enough that it has sparked privacy concerns almost since its inception.

Such is the case with Israel. The Government of the small, war-torn country is considering allowing Google to start mapping its streets with it’s camera-cars, which on one hand could provide a boost to tourism and improve the country’s image. On the other hand the detailed imaged could conceivably be used by potential terrorists to plan out the logistics of an attack.

A group headed by Israeli Minister Dan Meridor met on Monday to discuss “various aspects of Google Street View, which is due to be operated in Israel soon.  During the discussion, experts presented the implications regarding privacy concerns and public security, as well as the advantages regarding tourism and image,” according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s office. Security experts were also advised to “work to protect vital public interests regarding this innovative project.  It was decided that cooperation with Google would continue in order to operate the service in Israel as soon as possible.”

This isn’t the first time concern has been raised over the possible invasion of privacy issues that come along with Google’s ‘street view’ technology. The public concern is that people are being photographed in compromising situations without their knowledge. Examples of such situations include people picking their noses, leaving strip clubs and adult bookstores, or sunbathing in a bikini, and are more than enough to make the public cry “foul” on the part of Google. Google maintains that it is well within it’s legal rights to post the photographs since they are all taken from public property. However, the corporation has since developed technology to search for human faces within it’s photos and automatically blur them. So, if your town isn’t available in street view just yet, it’s okay. You can go ahead and pick your nose.

Images: Wikipedia