have come under fire for sending one of its camera cars to snap photos of the devastation to publish as the latest pictures on Street Views of the devastated areas. Google states that their purpose is to update their maps and to help people understand the extent of the destruction wreaked by the hurricane.
More than a few residents see it differently. They believe that the photos of the devastation will remain on Street View for an extended period of time and they do not want their community remembered in this way. Others think it is insensitive on the part of Google Street View.
I don't know what to think about this. On the one hand, I am somewhat uncomfortable with it. It seems to me that caution is always the preferred posture when dealing with people who are undergoing tremendous suffering and whose lives have been totally rearranged. There is something unseemly about a vehicle driving around the streets taking photos of devastated dwellings where people lived and raised families, and where they have made memories. It seems prudent to refrain from such action. Nevertheless, we now live in the era of the smart phone where people can be photographed and filmed without their knowledge and where one can no longer assume that a private conversation is really private.
On the other hand...
...there are those who respond that this is really no different from photo journalists recording on film the devastation of previous disasters years ago, which were published in the newspapers and shown on the evening news. This has been done for years. Why is what Google Street View doing any different?
So, part of me thinks the folks at Google are being extremely insensitive, while another part of me says that this is the world we have now inherited and it is simply an extension of what has been done in the past.
One thing is now certain-- we live in a voyeuristic culture of reality TV, the constant and casual and embarrassing postings on social media by those who have no idea they are embarrassing themselves with the technology now available (which indicates a deeper problem). We are able to insert ourselves in the lives of people in ways we never could before; and more than a few are willing to be viewed participants in such public voyeurism.
I really don't like it, but I am not sure there is anything to be done about it.
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