Google Street View snaps up Vancouver
Published Thursday, May 21, 2009 8:04PM PDT
Almost every inch of Metro Vancouver is being photographed for Google Street View, and a debate is raging as to whether the new internet service is invasive.
Camera cars were capturing 360-degree views of Point Grey's streets, businesses and homes on Thursday. Street View is already in the U.S. and eight other countries.
But UBC ethics professor Peter Danielson says the line between public and private should be drawn between commercial and residential.
"The viewer should be more restricted in a residential area -- kids on the street, the state of a house. What's in the yard -- with all those things we have a stronger presumption of privacy," he said.
After millions of hits on its website -- the company says there have been no complaints. Even so, B.C.'s privacy commission is watching the watchers.
"A lot of people will find these popular and useful, the question is how do you make sure these services work within the laws that we have in Canada dealing with commercial uses of our photographs," Privacy Commissioner David Loukidelis said.
And Street View will not be the first. A local company has already beat Google to mapping the streets of Vancouver.
The Canpages focus on commercial neighbourhoods, rather than residential areas.
"The Olympics are coming in less than a year. We thought it would be great to give a whole immersive experience -- an ability to visit all of Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler," Canpages' President Oliver Vincent said.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger.