Archives

Google Maps

I sent this to friends as an e-mail. I left the link to our farm off. You’ll get the picture without it.

Our friends introduced us to Google Maps. I must say I am impressed with the scope and utility of this project. If you click on the link below, it will take you to our new farm. You can move the arrows around to get different views. When they took the pictures to produce this, the surrounding 40 acres was high in corn. This year it is wheat. The road, house and front yard look pretty much the same.

Google automobiles have been driving all over the country with cameras taking 360-degree digital photographs as they drove. They now supply these images of a major portion of the urban dwellings in the USA. The political activist, economist and businessman in me finds a few problems with all this. I don’t plan on fixing any of them, so don’t you worry about me going off tilting a whole new batch of windmills. I just think the issues are worth a wide airing.

A lot of privacy is lost here. Anyone in the world with Internet access can look at your (our) yard and structures. It is worth noting that the multiple homes of highly-placed government officials are excluded from Google Maps views. They get privacy but we mere mortals don’t. While some might not be as important as Dick Cheney, I sure am and every bit as deserving of my privacy as he is of his. (Truth be told, the word “MORE” would be appropriate twice in that last sentence).

The sheer volume of data traversing the Internet to bring me moving pictures of my home, your home and anybody else’s home is almost mind boggling. Google Incorporated is sending cargo-container-boat-loads of data all over the world for fun and profit. While “net neutrality” is a rallying cry whose flames Google fanned, what it actually means is that they can use the world wide web to send a complete swimming pool’s worth of data complete with diving boards, water and olympic swimmers for the exact same price that I pay to send the equivalent of a post card. Millions of Internet Service Providers have to increase their investment in computing power to serve the increasing traffic, but Google Inc pays no more than I do of the bill.

Google is building a monsterous knowledge-base on everyone. They know what you read, where you web-surf, what your e-mail traffic looks like and now can put all that together with where you live and what your neighborhood looks like. More and more we get taught that tools for good can also be turned into tools for bad. No electronic data is truly safe, including the Google dossier on YOU… and me.

So feel free to look at our new farm. Google will be happy to collect more data on where you surf and what your interests are.