Both Google and Apple have plans to overhaul their maps in the future: make them more detailed, more precise, and so on. Google’s going to be using a fleet of planes. And since our august political bodies have nothing better to deal with before an election, Sen. Chuck Schumer — one of this country’s biggest grandstanding politicians — is bellyaching about people’s privacy well after he should have been.
Schumer says Apple and Google both use technology that could see through windows, catch detailed images of “private backyard activities,” and more in order to create their new mapping products. “Sunbathing in your backyard shouldn’t be a public event,” he said in an accompanying statement.
Chuck, you are waaaaaay behind the curve on that one.
He’s also concerned that terrorists might seek out information about infrastructure and sensitive government targets, because Google has never done that on request before. He wants Google to make blurring people out automatic, for law enforcement to be able to request infrastructure and other possible terrorist targets to be removed — and an opt-out so property owners don’t have their homes appear on the maps.
If this sounds familiar, Google stopped building out Street View in Germany over similar whining. For our part, we’re wondering why, before sending this letter, he didn’t simply hop onto Google Maps and see how far you can zoom, because, yeah, you can see people’s backyards, but it’s not like you can make anything out in detail.
Come on, it’s not like the Senate is doing anything, you can fire up your laptop and take a look.
(Image courtesy byrion on Flickr)