Coffs roads wiped off Google Street View
STREETS in Coffs Harbour have been stricken from the record as privacy advocates clamp down on Google's new mapping tool Street View.
Private roads including Tiki Road at Moonee Beach, Mountain Way at Korora, Beachfront Close at Sapphire Beach and the streets around Coffs Harbour Regional Airport have been removed from Street View, the newest addition to Google which contains more than 10 million images that users can search and view.
Street View, which was launched last week, contains close up images of homes, businesses and landmarks literally taken 'on the street' by a group of cars mounted with rooftop cameras that criss-crossed Australia for six months.
Besides private roads marked with no trespassing signs, every public street and road on the Coffs Coast is available for viewing on Street View.
While Google claims the service has multiple positive applications, others call it a gross invasion of privacy since permission is not sought for photographs to be exhibited on the website.
A spokesperson for the Australian Privacy Foundation said people have a legitimate expectation of a degree of privacy in public places.
“There is a difference between being seen doing something in public and having a camera capture the act,” the spokesperson said.
“For example, while a person might be comfortable walking home from the beach wearing a bikini, that same person may not necessarily consent to a photograph of her doing so, let alone being made available on the internet.”
He said the use of photos taken from public places of various 'public' and 'private' places is risky and demands close consideration.
“It is likely that at least some aspects of its use will require careful regulation,” he said.
Google Australia spokesman, Rob Shilkin, said private roads and unblurred number plates and faces were removed from Street View as soon as they were bought to Google's attention via the reporting mechanism on Street View. A feedback mechanism has been built into the system for property owners to request the removal of photographs that identify people or sensitive information.