The group Stop Internet Predators, claiming that the Street View 360-degree technology can be used by pedophiles to help stalk their victims, is recommending that municipalities "an Street View from your neighborhoods until it is safeguarded to ensure children's safety and privacy."
How Google is supposed to do that, the organization doesn't say.
"Street View could make it simple, for example, for anyone to map the most likely route your child walks to school, calculate the distance between your front door and the school bus stop, view images of the different entrances to community parks, and even find the location of your families’ bedroom windows," the organization's website warns.
The technology, used in Google Maps, is thus far available in about 17 cities. Similar technologies are used products from other vendors, such as Microsoft, but Google's is for some reason the one primarily targeted.
"Why does this help child predators?" said 'Sabrina' from St. Louis. "If they live in the same town, they are likely well aware children play in parks. It they don’t live in the same town, they can get the same location information for parks that is already available in online maps."
Or paper maps, even. Like the kinds that some cities actually give out.
Google spokespeople are typically also quoted in the articles, noting that the company blurs faces and will remove photographs on request, and also that the information is no different from what could be captured on camera by someone in a car or on foot along city streets.
In fact, some cities -- most of them, in my experience -- actually have signs alerting potential predators to upcoming schools and parks. Eek!
The executive director of the organization, Stacie Rumenap, admitted in several articles that no children have been harmed through the tool, but, according to a letter the organization suggests sending to municipal officials, "our children’s safety is our number one priority and we cannot allow to [sic] be compromised."