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Have you ever been driving in your car, doing something embarrassing hoping that no one will see you? Or maybe your the kind of person who dreams of the perfect pool, but you just don’t want to get the correct permit, having the feeling that no one will know your dirty little secret. Well, all hope my be lost. As Google Earth and Maps just might have the pictures to prove your guilty.

The pictures above show breaking and entering, an embarrassed man with a blow up doll, women topples sun bathing, and two grown men playing knights. As these pictures are proof of people being captured on Google Earth and Maps, it is a complete and utter invasion of privacy. And there have been many lawsuits involving pictures just as these.

Although it did not all start out like this. Google Earth was said to be an amazing investment, and can save lives. The article Mapping Disaster Zones says just that. It explains how Google Earth was used to help disaster relife from earthquakes, and Hurricane Katrina.  ” The effectiveness of Google Earth software in helping to coordinate disaster relief suggests that much could be gained by opening up disaster operations to the public. After both Hurricane Katrina and the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, the Global Connections project coordinated with relief agencies to post fresh images on Google Earth as fast as possible. Low resolution and image freshness are 2 major obstacles confronting relief workers wishing to use programs such as Google Earth, but by using updated overlays provided in Keyhole Markup Language it is possible to update Google Earth in real time. Growing awareness of the usefulness of spatial image browsing should lead to greater standardization of image and data formats and allow the use of images taken from less-expensive equipment such as mobile phones. The potential loss of privacy is insufficient to prevent the development of high-resolution, up-to-date images for public rescue operations.”,said the article Mapping Disaster Zones.

A demo of how Google Earth is suppose to work

As some of the above information suggests that Google Earth is the most amazing and helpful thing on this planet, that is not quite true. Google is about to start their street mapping portion again, but some people are hesitant, because of the previous scandals. Stated in the news article Google to Resume Street Mapping After Privacy Talks. this article explains how excatly the Google cars are able to take pictures of everything. It also states some of the fears such as, stealing wi-fi data during the process of taking pictures.

More examples of how Google Earth is exploiting people is in the article Invasion of Privacy?; Aerial photos of every property in Orange and Seminole will soon be sold on the web. This article simply states how some of the pictures taken from those areas, are being sold on the web. This is a complete invasion of privacy.

One last thing on the invasion of privacy is how the government is using Google Earth to acquire the backyards of people houses. The reason for this is because they are looking for people who have pools, and when they find such things, they try to figure out if the pool have the proper permit. With doing this, when they found houses breaking the law for permits, they would try to ticket them, but what ended up happening was because it was an invasion of privacy, and there was no conceit from said person to take the picture, even thought they are in the wrong, they are not fined as it is on un-right evidence.This is all said in the article Around the State.

Finally, there will always be a person looking at the pictures that Google takes, and deciding wither or not it is ok to use. So as long as this is happening, there will always be some sort of invasion of privacy involving Google Earth and Maps.


Works Cited:

  • Nourbakhsh, Illah, Randy Sargent, and Anne Wright. “Mapping Disaster Zones.” Nature V. 439 (February 16 2006) P. 787-8, 439 (2006): 787-788.


  • BRIEN, CIARA O. “Google to Resume Street Mapping After Privacy Talks.” Irish Times2010: 5. 1006156 1007070 1007147 1007280 1005815 1006134 1007062 1007993 1006502 1008173 1007992 1006485 1006748 1005833 1006155 1006080 1000263 1006932 1006310 1007121 1007142 10000118 1006332 1007945 1007023 10000039 1006127 1006773 1007989 1006798 100(TRUNCATED). PROQUESTMS. 15 Mar. 2011 <>.


  • Wes Smith, Sentinel,Staff Writer. (2006, INVASION OF PRIVACY? ; aerial photos of every property in orange and seminole will soon be sold on the web.: [FINAL edition]. Orlando Sentinel, pp. A.1. Retrieved from

 Privacy and secrecy play a critical role in the role of self-development today.  With all the social networks out there it would be hard not to get lost in it all.  There are so many chances to open up to the world out there and say what ever is on your mind.   With that comes responsiblity and the issue of trust, the thing that so many people out there believe they surely do and have with the social networking site Facebook. With new technology coming out and the other public networking sites out there, the public can never be too careful about what is put out on the internet  for all to see.

All the aspects of the common, community and public spaces are increasingly being privatized and infused with corporate and market values.  The less awareness of it is that the privatization of the public is accompanied by the publization of the private.  Private is invaded by technologies of surveillance that can affect all the aspects of life in the social and cultural way.  The term of privacy along with the meaning and significance is changing and has changed for everyone involved in the social networks.  The social network Facebook was launched by Mark Zuckerberg for use by students at Harvard in 2004, opened to public in 2006, in 2008 it claimed 70 million active users worldwide.  With a site like that and that many people using it, it would be hard to realistically believe that privacy was their first concern at hand. “Zuckerberg audaciously quipped in 2010 that privacy was no longer a social norm”(  The Social Networking technologies are designed with an appealing and in many respects, irresistible “invitation” to their users (Adams,2006,p.20)  There are a multitude of reasons and purposes for why users decide to use Facebook, the users include anyone from professionals, teachers, students,parents and children. 

 The younger generation tends to live their private lives in the digital world a little more than others might choose to.  Possible reasons may include the feelings of aloneness and solitude, the need and want, to gain visibility and fame.  “Teenagers equipped with portable electronic confessionals are simply apprentices training and trained in the art of living in a confessional society a society notorious for effacing the boundary which once separated the private life from the public, for making it a public virtue and obligation to publicly expose the private”.(Bauman,2007,p.3)  The world can be kindly oblivious to the hidden designs of Facebook and the 70 million people who join willingly post a huge amount of spontaneous and private personal data. The only seemingly hidden problem is that the personal data is made available to businesses who will profit from it.

The over indulgent of sharing on Facebook can be so exciting and fun but can also get you into a tight spot.  When people post their daily activities, relationship status’, pictures from the night before, they usually are not thinking of who may see this certain daily activity.  If you are not all familiar with the privacy settings and do not change them according to who you want to see what, there is a good chance that your neighbor or coworker can get  a glimpse into your everyday life with out you knowing it.  In 2007, it happened when the default settings in an initiative called Facebook Beacon sent all your Facebook friends updates about your purchases you made on certain third-party sites(  The Canadian internet policy and public interest clinic filed a complaint towards Facebook stating “a minefield of privacy invasion”(Van Manen,2010). It has happened probably more times than the general public actually knows, Facebook back in May 2010 had gotten ready to unveil enhanced privacy settings which was due to a complaint of the FTC by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.  In April, it had launched an initiative called Open Graph, which in turn lets us all know what are friends like and lets them know what we like, in theory it is supposed to encourage Sally to like Levi Jeans and when Tina sees that Sally likes them she will in return most likely like them as well.  They could not of picked a better site to initiate, considering the millions of people who go online each day, less than a month after it rolled out more than 100,000 sites had integrated the technology.

It can seem unsettling to the middle age generation and older to know that whatever you are putting online can be seen by someone else just by not making sure your “privacy” settings are set to your liking. 

In the last five years Facebooks privacy policy has grown to 5,830 words today, from 1,004 in 2005.  In addition, Facebook offers an indepth privacy FAQ page with 45,000 words, it is longer than the constitution(NY Times)

Although Mark Zuckerberg is banking on the idea that the majority of people will keep on putting their personal business on-line without regard to the privacy settings and that his company will keep on profiting from all the worlds openness. “The company wants to expand the range of information you’re sharing and get you to share a lot more of it”(  Just in case some people in other parts of the world felt left out there is no need to worry because they have translated the site in to 70 different languages, to make sure everyone feels connected and welcomed with privacy or not.

Fact: More than 30 billion pieces of content (weblinks, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo ablums, etc.) are shared on Facebook each month.(


Adams,C.(2006)PowerPoint, Habits of Mind and Classroom Culture. Journal of Curriculum Studies. 38(4),389-  411

Bauman,Z. (2007). Consuming Life.Cambridge,MA:Polity Press

Van Manen,M. The Pedagogy of Momus Technologies: Facebook, Privacy and Online Intimacy.24 March 2010. Qualitative Health Research, 20 (8) 1023-1032

Google is watching you…But how close?

Have you ever felt like someone was watching you, leering over your shoulder or off in a shadow? It gives you that gut wrenching feeling bad enough when you are out in the public but what are you suppose to do when you are in the comfort of your own home…let’s say in front of a screen?

This is exactly what Google is doing to the millions of users who grace their page daily looking for insightful material. Google places a cookie on every user’s computer, timed to expire in 2038. But now what exactly is a cookie? A cookie is “information that a Web site puts on your hard disk so that it can remember something about you at a later time” (http://searchsoftware This cookie allows Google to track you and log your entire search history. In fact, “Google has recently indicated that they won’t be deleting peoples search histories at all!” (

This is only one incident where Google has overstepped boundaries and shattered our privacy. Proof that privacy in Google is an immense problem lies in the fact they have their own site where its sole purpose is to defend their privacy efforts. Google says “we are keenly aware of the trust our users place in us, and our responsibility to protect their privacy” ( Right after making this very publicly accepted statement they begin to justify the fact that Google stores search engine log data. The justification is that storage of data is to improve search results and to maintain the security of their systems. In other words because they are able to track peoples entire past history they are able to improve your current search results. Cookies are also stored in hopes to improve the experience of the user by providing services and advertisements that may better fit the particular user.

Google somehow has been operating under the impression that they are doing the most good for their users when in reality people feel as though the searches they send through Google are their business and they have a right to prevent Google from accumulating a continuous history of their web usage. If Google was to listen to the public, people are quite clear. In a study an alarming 89% claimed that they desired to keep their search histories private and felt that Google was not putting forth the effort to meet their wishes (Piper, 2005).

Recently the issue with privacy behind Google has been taken to a whole new level with the creation of Google Buzz. Google Buzz is a social networking and messaging tool from Google, designed to integrate into the company’s web-based email program, Gmail (!5467846/what-is-google-buzz). Users are able to share links, photos, videos, status messages and comments organized in “conversations” and visible in the user’s inbox. Molly Wood, an active user of Google and their many features, loves new technology that leads to real time updating, in-line videos and photo posting as much as the next person but according to her she does not like “a product that burst through my door like a tornado and opts me in to unwanted in-box clutter and span and publically reveals my personal contact list without asking me” (, which is exactly what Google Buzz did to her and many others.

When you visit Google Buzz you are invited to “Try Buzz in Gmail” where there is no setup needed. The phrase “it is too good to be true” has rung true for so many here, this no setup needed is not the bonus that it is perceived to be. First you automatically follow every contact in your Gmail account and by default this information becomes publicly available to anyone who views your profile. Another privacy issue that Buzz users have to deal with is the fact that when anyone else follows you, your information becomes public from their profile as well, taking even more of the control away from the information’s owner. Thankfully the final and arguably most sinister feature of Google Buzz does ask you permission, but only once upon creating the account. Accessing the mobile account Buzz attempts to prompt you to allow it to reveal your exact location address. Now even though a large portion of our society enjoys this kind of disclosure, Buzz is wrong in the fact they do not properly educate their users on what the window truly means. So users like Molly, often times feels deceived instead of secure.

Issues surrounding Google Buzz have escalated so high it had to be resolved in a court. One example is when Google settled a Buzz privacy lawsuit for $8.5 million (http://mashable. com/2010/09/03google-buzz-lawsuit-settlement/). The complaint alleged that Buzz violated several communication privacy laws related to protecting users. This lawsuit brought a lot of attention to the flaws of Google Buzz, specifically their auto-follow and opt-in features, so much that it quickly forced Google to fix many of its problems. “While the settlement acknowledges that Google Buzz’s privacy issues have been resolved, it says the company must do more to educate users about Google Buzz’s potential impact on privacy” ( /2010/09/03google-buzz-lawsuit-settlement/).

From these lawsuits you can see just how dangerous this problem is. Unfortunately because most of the times we are deceived victims there is little we can do to protect ourselves and we must rely on government regulations for the digital world.

This is not to mean that we are powerless. First be sure to always read the fine print before moving on and giving your personal information out. It is also important to remember there are alternatives! You do not have to use Google, but instead research into other search engines or email sites that respect you and your privacy more. When it comes to the cookies Google leaves on your computer, there are steps to removing your personal identity to them. These steps can be found at:

Unfortunately there is a lot in this world to look out for and protecting your privacy is very vital. You will never be able to protect yourself completely but you can always be wiser the next time you are at home and have a “safe” feeling when you are searching for that next new book, recipe or sports team. But just always remember…Google is watching!

Piper, P. S. (2005). Google and Privacy. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 10(3/4), 195-203. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Online Photo Privacy.

We all have such a false sense of security when it comes to the internet. Especially when it comes to pictures.  Not many people think about it when their photos are taken, you do not know what people are going to do with the photos or where they are going to post them.

All of us have had our picture taken and almost all of us have had our pictures posted onto the internet in some way or another.

Did you know that a picture really is worth a thousand words?   Pictures online can hold much more than just your photo, it also holds your very private and personal information for any and all to see.  A news station in Buffalo New York decided to do an “experiment” with this.   Their channel 4 news station took photos near buildings and posted them online, within minutes they were able to pin point exactly where the picture was taken and when.

The most frightening part of all this is that most people do not even realize that they are sharing all of their information with the world.

Smartphones are so convenient to have, especially if you are a person who is always on the go.   Most of us have smart phones which come with so many “apps” and easy access to the internet.   This enables us to be tracked letting everyone know where we are especially if you choose to allow such information on the social networks, updating our statuses letting our friends know what we are doing, and an added bonus, the ability to upload photos of our various adventures.

As incredible as these phones are they also come with  a built-in GPS called a Geotag, that “tracks” your location automatically showing the coordinates of your location.  As of January 2006 our smart phones have been required by law to have this build in  GPS. This feature on our phones has been great for emergency calls, tracking where people are, however, not so handy when it comes to our personal lives.   []

Geotags are GPS coordinates that are labeled on JPEG photos, this shows where the pictures are taken.  Your digital files that you’re posting to the internet are laced with your information.

Uploading photos is not exclusively from Smartphones, pictures can also be tracked from you personal digital cameras. This also is not only for adults, but for children who are online or in photos that parents are posting. Each time you snap a photo and upload it to your favorite website such as Facebook, Twitter, Photobucket, Criagslist or any others make it easy for hackers to get all the information they need to steal your identity and make your life difficult.   Information that can be accessed are things  such as home addresses, work places, some times social security numbers, Phone numbers, where your children go to school, etc.

People who post pictures and update their statuses regularly can make it quite convenient for burglars to strike.   You are telling the world essentially that you are not home, with the information you have provided allows the “bad guys” to know approximately how far from home you are.

Check out this link, it might just make you think twice before snapping and posting.

People have used the information provided by photographs to figure out where others are, as stated before.   This can also lead to or be whats is called cyber stalking.  Though there is not a technical term, the U.S. Department of Justice defines it as ” the  use of the internet, email, or other electronic devices to stalk another person.  Stalking generally involves harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as following a person, appearing at a person’s home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person’s property.” We have become  such a media driven culture.   It seems that the age that media is effecting is less and less as time goes on.

Many people do not think about how smartphones and the internet and what it can lead to effects their children and what it’s doing to that generation.  This again is directly connected to the cyber stalking and bullying.  Kids use the internet and cell phones as a weapon much of the time, or as a way of being “popular”.

The number of children who have cell phones:

It is imperative that you educate yourself and your children about the dangers of the internet and for that matter your cell phones.   There are many ways in which you can take precautions.   On your Smartphones for starters, you can shut off the Geotag, this disables  the GPS on your phone not allowing it to show your whereabouts.  The website is raising awareness for accidental identity sharing, and also gives step by step directions on how to protect yourself.

Unfortunately today we do have to worry about our privacy being invaded in all aspects of our lives, so, please take some time and investigate where you could have potential for important information being leaked and maybe worse, becoming a victim of Identity theft or home robbery.


Another Article that I wrote regarding this information:


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