* Posts by David Renaud

4 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Aug 2008

Privacy watchdog hoists Google by its own petard

David Renaud

@A Public Place

Thanks Jason and Jolyon.

Many of the legal (US) and ethical issues in photography are discussed in "Legal Handbook for Photographers" by Bert P. Krages. As one might expect, the issues are complex. For starters, there is a body of law concerning the right to photograph and another concerning the use of images. Personally, I ask permission before photographing humans and get model/property releases if I anticipate using an image for financial gain.

The situtation with Google street view is novel and it will be interesting to see how the law evolves. Personally, I like the idea of street view and hope that some accomodation is reached that balances privacy issues with utility. Before traveling to unknown commercial and residential neighborhoods, I have used SV to get a clue. Also, I have used it in my blog to show where an image was taken. Here is an example. (warning: it's a streaker pic)


David Renaud

More Irony

Actually, my impression was that Google security had the entire area around the campus under surveillance, including the public park. I never set foot on Google grounds. The guard, if that's what he was, was wearing a polo shirt, slacks, and a Google employee badge. As I was in a park, not on the campus, he had to walk quite a way to harass me. This seemed like a general policy, not the actions of a bored guard. The rude confrontational manner may have been unique that guard.

Once in New York, I was asked to stop photographing in front of the CNN building, however, the guard was polite, citing "security issues". I was on their property, even though I was only a few feet off a crowded sidewalk and there were no signs or barriers. Ironically (once more), I was photographing an American flag. Here is the shot.


David Renaud

Ironic, isn't it?

In summer of 2004, I was hassled by a Google security guard while taking nature photographs in the park which borders the east side of Google's campus on Amphitheater Parkway in Mountain View, Ca. This is a public park that was constructed when the campus was originally built, as required by the city of Mountain View. The orginal tenant of the campus was SGI.

At the moment of the hassling, I was operating a twin-lens reflex camera on a tripod. I was on the sidewalk with the Google campus at my back, photographing some trees across the street. The guard demanded to know what I was photographing and accused me of photographing the Google campus, as if that act was somehow forbidden or unlawful. Being aware of my rights, I asked the guard if I was trespassing on Google property, to which he replied, "No". I then told them that if he wished to purse the matter, he should call the Mountain View police. He left in a huff.

Needless to say, this encounter was a little intimidating and upsetting. Time passed and Google street view came out and my thought was, "How Ironic?"

US Navy spares Silicon Valley's 'Alexandria Lighthouse'

David Renaud

Pictures of the Blimp Hangar

In case anyone is curious, here are some images of this very big thing.


These were taken in August, 2001 during an air show.