Do the new Google maps invade privacy? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Do the new Google maps invade privacy?

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SPOKANE, Wash -  A new innovation from Internet giant Google is raising eyebrows around the nation.  Is it the latest in Internet mapping technology, or a dangerous invasion of privacy?

We logged onto the new Google maps and found a house in San Francisco with a van in the driveway.  When we looked closely, we could see the silhouette of someone getting out of the van.  We called that person.  We saw the address on the website, did a reverse search online and got the phone number for the house.  That's how we met Jessica who confirmed to us from a thousand miles away that she owns the silver van, has red brick steps, a white shade over her front window.  All details we saw online.  All details that make Jessica wonder at what point her privacy is violated,

"I think it's kinda cool that the technology has that ability.  I'm actually pretty amazed.  I'm trying to figure out what the utility would be like whether there's a safety issue that my car is in the driveway and what my license plate is."         

We asked Google What's the point and a representative replied to us by e-mail,  "Anyone who prefers visual cues or landmarks to written directions can see what a particular turn or intersection looks like".  "Someone who's looking to move can use the tool to check the house and the entire neighborhood for things like restaurants and cafes."  "Users who are planning a trip can get a sense of where their going even if they've never been to that city before."

The technology is not real time, so if you logged on to Jessica's house, you'd still see her silhouette in the driveway, so in theory you wouldn't be able to tell when someone is home or not.  Still a question of privacy for a lot of people. 

Google is only launching the service for select cities including San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas and Denver.  The company says it plans to roll out more cities in the future.

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