From ZDNet News:
One lazy afternoon, Maer Israel and a colleague ducked out of work to have a double espresso at a nearby cafe in San Francisco.
Several weeks later, the information technology manager at the French American International School was alerted that a picture of him sitting at the cafe could be found on Google’s online map as part of the search giant’s new street-level photo view.
“The HR manager ran into me in the hallway, and she pulled me aside and…said, ‘Do you know that there are cameras everywhere?'” Israel recounted. “Of course, I was a little freaked out because it’s the HR person telling me that we got busted having a coffee next door…My mother is surprised I haven’t been fired.”
Google’s recently unveiled Street View stunned many with its photos of the unsuspecting, from a man climbing a front gate to another walking out of a strip club, but it’s hardly the first time the company has compiled a massive database of material that some would want to remain private. Indeed, Google has for years been storing every Web search and analyzing the topics of Gmail so it can serve customers with related advertisements.
But now that Google is serving up images from the sky with Google Earth, creating street-level images with Street View and tracking customer behavior in cyberspace, some are starting to ask: how much is enough?