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Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2007 at 12:44 pm

Blog Buzz: Canada Blames Google Street View

By Robert Gorell
September 12th, 2007

blame_canada_1.jpgWhen Google Street View launched in May, we made some waves — a mention in The New York Times, even — after pointing out that it lets you illegally* see inside of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (a point which has been disputed in the comments).

Now it seems our neighbo(u)rs to the north aren’t too keen on the idea.

Search Engine Land links to this Canadian Press article which tells of Canada Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart’s campaign against Google Street View in Canada:

“I am concerned that, if the Street View application were deployed in Canada, it might not comply with our federal privacy legislation,” Stoddart says in a letter to David Drummond, Google’s senior vice-president of corporate development and chief legal officer.

“In particular, it does not appear to meet the basic requirements of knowledge, consent, and limited collection and use as set out in the legislation.” [Click for details on Canadian privacy legislation.]

Commenting on the story, Search Engine Land‘s Greg Sterling insists that:

More stringent and complex privacy rules in Canada would make it more challenging to roll out street-level photography there. The Canadian act appears to require consent in some circumstances, where individuals are identifiable in photographs, before publication. As a practical matter that would be impossible. Google has a process in place to request removal of images after they appear in Street View.

Here at GrokDotCom, we’re lucky to have quite a few Canadian readers. Would any of you care to share your thoughts on Google Street View?

UPDATE: reminds us that Google Street View has launched in nine major U.S. cities since May.

Yahoo! Backs Bebo


After much thumb-twiddling and countless missed opportunities elsewhere, Yahoo has closed a deal with, the UK’s most popular social networking site:

According to the Associated Press:

The Bebo deal marks the first time that Yahoo has agreed to supply advertising to a social networking site. Yahoo had previously been feeding search results to Bebo. It now plans to begin funneling display ads to Bebo in the fourth quarter.

Two of Yahoo’s biggest rivals, Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., already have advertising partnerships with MySpace and Facebook, respectively.

While Google has been thriving, Yahoo has been struggling this year.

Yahoo’s earnings fell nearly 7 percent during the first six months of this year, a factor that contributed to the June resignation of Terry Semel as the company’s chief executive officer after six years on the job. Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang is now trying to orchestrate a turnaround.

Working with Bebo will [sic] should broaden Yahoo’s appeal with advertisers looking to connect with a younger audience. Citing data from comScore Media Metrix, Bebo said it reaches a monthly audience of 11.6 million people in England and Ireland.

Together, Yahoo and Bebo expect to reach about 75 percent of the United Kingdom’s online audience. The two companies didn’t reveal how they will divide advertising revenue under their new alliance.

For more discussion, see the comments in Duncan Riley’s TechCrunch piece.

New York Times goes 2-point-OMG with Facebook App of late-bloomer social media marketing, here’s a cute one… The New York Times has launched a current events quiz application for Facebook. Now you and your Facebook friends, “friends,” or colleagues (depending on how you use it) can compete to see who has the highest “Times IQ”. For instance:

Q: Did you really think an entire day would go by without another new Facebook application?

A) Yes B) Of course not C) “The Iraq” D) Could you repeat the question?

If you guessed something other than B, you’re either Miss South Carolina or you haven’t seen the full analysis on Read/WriteWeb:

Whether it works will largely depend on Facebook’s appetite for current events. Turning news into a friendly competition with your friends, and making it easily digestible (i.e., just 5 stories per day, with multiple choice answers) were both good choices, in my opinion. And anything that raises the level of consciousness about current events among the world’s youth is a good thing.

While Facebook may help you stay abreast of current events, it seems to have a problem with, well, breasts — breastfeeding, actually. Phil Bradley’s weblog has the scoop:

. . . it now looks as though Facebook is going to have to quell rebellion if the article Facebook ban incurs ‘lactivist’ wrath is anything to go by. Apparently they’re banning photographs of breast feeding mothers, because an exposed breast violates their terms. Although we don’t exactly know what ‘exposed’ really means. Also doesn’t explain why Facebook seems to think it is ok to run an image of a topless model in a banner ad.

With recent uproars over Wal-Mart’s Facebook campaign and Raccoongate, Facebook isn’t making a lot friends-of-friends. A word of advice to Mark Zuckerberg and friends: don’t mess with the lactivists (or this could happen to you).

[Sick of reading blogs? Catch Blog Buzz weekdays on — or subscribe via iTunes. Bryan Eisenberg & Robert Gorell host the podcast, featuring a rundown of the day's top stories from The Grok's Interactive Marketing Buzz.]

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Comments (11)

  1. Streetviews has been an absolute blessing to me. I use a wheelchair and I travel often for conferences and briefings, etc. Previously there was always a level of distrust or a lack of comfort when choosing a hotel that is “near” a conference center. Everyone says they are “near” or within walking distance.

    I can now identify exactly how far it is (never mind 0.3 miles – that is not relevant to me if there is a staircase I have to descend, or a river to swim through). I can now actually walk through it virtually and see if there are curbs, stairs, and exactly how close it is to my destination.

    It has completely changed how I choose hotels when I travel and brought me piece of mind. Privacy… I’m sorry, you take a backseat on this one.

  2. Jason,

    That’s the best endorsement for this application I’ve ever seen. Thank you for sharing that.

    Personally, I don’t see any problem with it outside of places that already aren’t supposed to be photographed. At least in the U.S., if you’re in any public place, you can be photographed — and that’s a good thing for fans of freedom of the press.

    I wonder how many others have found practical uses for Google Street View.

  3. Jason – Thanks for that perspective. I never considered the value of Streetviews before. It does however raise an interesting dilemma about privacy rights and how they might infringe on other rights that are also in the interest of public welfare. I have many libertarian leanings so I’m conflicted whenever rights are abridged. However, I recognize that the difference between freedom and license is the point where your freedom and mine conflict. With license everyone is free to do as they like and everyone’s toes are stepped on whereas the role of a good government in a free society is to delineate where your freedom ends and my rights begin. You’ve just made this issue that much more complex. Nothing is as much fun to think about as complex dilemmas where everyone has a valid viewpoint.

  4. My daily example of this is the condo dwellers below me in my highrise. They are ‘chronic’ smokers (yes, of both variety) and they insist on doing it on their balcony between 11pm and 1am every day. The smoke goes directly up and into our open windows (especially annoying in summer when it is too hot to close them).

    They have the right to smoke, especially because they are doing it on their own property. But the value of my condo and the quality of my living arrangement is lower because of their actions.

    I’d like the government to legislate that one.

  5. News happening now…Rutgers Player Vaughn Withdraws Imus Suit…

    Stories this blog was used in… Rutgers Player Vaughn Withdraws Imus Suit…

  6. In other countries than Canada there are also privacy concerns about google street-view. Just because you do not understand or respect them does not mean that they are not true.

  7. Andreas,

    I’m not sure what’s making you think we don’t respect or care to understand other countries. Care to elaborate?

    Jeffrey’s comment above did a good job to frame the philosophical questions at play here. Frankly, it’s something every country is wrestling with. It just happens to be more of a pressing issue for some here in the U.S. because, so far, it’s the only place the technology has launched.

  8. G’day from Canada eh!

    To be honest, I don’t really care what country you’re in — if you’re not doing anything illegal or immoral, who really cares which camera catches you doing what in a public place?

    If you want complete privacy, you need to be completely alone. You give up certains rights to, and areas of, privacy when you choose to become part of a society.

    There certainly are valid reasons for privacy in some areas — and there are some areas where it may not be specifically needed but preferred (the balance in my chequing account, for example).

    I think the very fact that most people approach from the direction of “my privacy” says a lot too.

    But I better go now. My employer may have a hidden camera monitoring how much office time I’m spending replying to blogs — of all the nerve!

  9. I think Jason’s comments are well considered and very pertinent to the use of this tool for the good things in life.

    As anyone considered how the bad people in life may use it? Terrorists, criminals, my ex.

    Of course if we worried about them too much then we would never do anything.

    Just a happy thought for the day.


  10. I support Andreas F.’s opinion. I think they want to watch & control us.

  11. Hurrah! It’s also good paragraph on the topic of JavaScript, I am in fact eager of learning JavaScript. thanks admin

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