21 Aug 2014
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Google Street View Car: Invasion of Privacy?

Have you seen the car with cameras mapping Cartersville streets? Do you have privacy concerns about the images and data it's collecting?

Twice this week, I spotted a Google Street View car in Cartersville.

My first encounter with the small car sporting cameras perched on a pole, which was on Grassdale Road, stirred my interest in the technology used to capture 360-degree panoramic views of streets, roads and highways on seven continents.

First started in 2007 as an experiment, the latest Google car takes photos with up to 15 lenses and has motion sensors and lasers to track its position and determine distances.

Google's driverless car uses that Street View data and artificial-intelligence software that can sense objects near the car and mimic driving decisions made by humans, according to a New York Times report.

Would you feel comfortable with driverless cars on the road? Tell us in the comments!

This week, California became the latest state to allow testing of Google's autonomous car, and Nevada last year passed a law allowing driverless vehicles, for which the company has lobbied, reports CNN. In both states, a human is required to be in the car as it navigates roadways.

Awesome technology, I thought, until the second time I saw the car along Highway 41 between Grassdale and the Cloverleaf, which prompted me to "google" my home address for a street view of my neighborhood.

It appears that some time ago a Street View car photographed my house and neighborhood, and the panoramic views Google published provide a lot of detailed information about them.

Is Google Street View an invasion of privacy? Tell us in the comments!

Earlier this year, a Frenchman shown urinating in his front yard on Google Street View sued the company already facing criticism over privacy policy changes, PC World reported. Other embarrassing moments captured by the cars' cameras include men entering adult-entertainment stores and a naked man emerging from the trunk of a car.

In 2010, Google's cars also collected wi-fi data in several countries, prompting independent investigations, according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Information gathered included email passwords and content and device and network IDs related to private wireless networks.

Do you have privacy concerns about the data and images Google collects? Tell us in the comments!

The UK reopened its investigation in June, citing an FCC probe, which found Google's data collection violated no laws, contradicted the UK's earlier findings, CNET reported. At least nine countries have found Google Street View violated their laws, according to EPIC.org.

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