The company’s pitch to universities is that enabling anybody with an Internet connection to virtually stroll the grounds will help institutions satisfy the curiosity of prospective students, nostalgic alumni and helicopter parents....And if universities say no, what does that mean? They're protecting privacy? But "Google uses algorithms to automatically blur faces and license plates, and also offers an online form where people can request that certain images be removed."
It would be “really stupid,” and probably unlikely, for Google to intentionally trawl campus networks for data under the auspices of the Street View University Partners program, says [Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia and a prominent critic of Google], adding that universities face a more immediate data risk by outsourcing campus e-mail and other cloud services to Google.We're already trusting Google. What's the point of mistrusting it about lesser things?
“We’re not talking about a great data meltdown,” says Vaidhyanathan. “But we are talking about the possibility of a person being identifiable as part of a university community” -- a person who might be dealing with a stalker, and who might not know to make a takedown request until after it is too late. Those are things that we have to keep in mind when dealing with real human beings through these systems... Google tends not to think of real human beings, but people at universities have that responsibility."Against the good of Google's Street View, how much weight would you give to the generic stalker? What about terrorists? Why doesn't Vaidhyanathan bring them up? My theory after the jump.
He's trying to influence university officials, who are on the left, mostly. They're susceptible to the violence-against-women set of arguments. If he were trying to influence people on the right, he'd deploy the terrorist bogeyman.