Google Map sparks controversy over snapshot of naked woman in Taiwan street

Updated: 15 Mar 2010
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Read more on Google Map   street view   Hualien   Taiwan  

What appeared was an image of a naked woman with one of her legs
hanging outside the second-floor window of a building
Google Maps' Street View service sparked controversy on Thursday, when Internet users searching for an address spotted a naked woman in one of the pictures.
The picture quickly made the rounds as Internet users forwarded the message on a local bulletin board system (BBS), as well as the social networking sites and Facebook, telling Netizens to see what they could find by typing in a certain address in Hualien on the Google Maps site and loading the Street View picture for that address.
What appeared was an image of a naked woman with one of her legs hanging outside the second-floor window of a building.
While many people forwarded the message, others reported the matter to Google Taiwan, asking the company to fix it.
Google Maps had removed the picture by 12:30am Friday.
Google Taiwan told the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) that all street view pictures in Taiwan are taken by street view camera cars that travel around randomly shooting street views. The company does not disclose where these vehicles go to avoid manipulation, it said.
There are five camera cars traveling around Taiwan, each with nine cameras on its roof to make sure they get a good shot at every corner, the Liberty Times reported.
Since the Street View service was launched in Taiwan last year, street views from 14 counties and cities can be seen online.
Commenting on the incident, Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Tsai Chi-hsun said that although this may not constitute a violation of privacy because the woman was in a public area, this is a good chance for the government as well as the public to reflect on how to better protect personal privacy and information at a time when so many innovative communication technologies are around.
“Some European counties require Google to ask for permission before taking Street View pictures,” Tsai said. “If we don’t start thinking about these kinds of issues soon, we could find ourselves in the middle of a very serious privacy crisis.”
SOURCE: Taipei Times
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