First we had NASA spying on Athens to help “fight the fire” and now we have Google being used to peep in on the tragic life of kidnapped-but-found-again Jaycee Lee Dugard — but all in the name of “newsgathering.”  Are we in any way offended that Google’s maps can be so easily used to dig into the private lives of others?


Here’s a closer look at Jaycee’s backyard prison:

Not close enough?

Google will take you in for a really intimate peeping:

How close is “too close” for Panopticonic comfort?

Do we have any expectation of privacy in the privacy of our own backyard? 

Or, if we have a sky above us, should we just always assume by default that we’re being watched and geotagged and stored on a server somewhere in Oceania?

2 Comments

  1. I’m a little surprised that nobody noticed this bizarre prison setup earlier. I think that Google uses the same out that the papparazzi do – if it’s in the public domain, it can be photographed only it’s – if it can be seen from the sky, it can be photographed.

  2. That’s an interesting argument, Gordon, because if a Paparazzi wants to get a photograph — it has to be in public. Someone’s backyard is not likely public enough to be considered free for shooting… especially if they aren’t celebrities.
    Even the air has its limits. Sure, photographers hire helicopters to take shots in areas they cannot see from the street, but there are also local and federal laws that dictate how and when that helicopter can operate.
    The upper sky, however, is a free zone — and if you have enough money and resources like Google — you can take images and publish them in the public domain without really any sort of remorse or regret and that, to me, seems oddly disconnected from our expectation of privacy when we’re home in our castles.