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Letters to the Editor

From time to time, a commentary on the world will bubble up inside of me to the extent that I'm forced to write a letter to my local, metropolitan, daily newspaper, The Age. This is where I blow of some steam. Feel like venting too? Add your own comment or visit my homepage.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

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"Public Privacy" and Google's Street View

The Australian Privacy Foundation is attacking Google's new Street View service on the grounds that photos taken in public may invade someone's "public privacy". This is one oxymoron society does not need. If someone is unhappy about his public urination being observed or photographed then surely the answer is for him to abstain. Banning others from looking is silly, wrong, impractical and against community expectations. No one complained about Brendan Fevola's privacy being invaded when he was caught and recorded urinating in a public street. By contrast, people were up in arms when Southbank management tried to ban photography there.

Public spaces are just that: public. Attempts to control what other people see in public amount to privatisation of the public sphere. We have precious few public spaces as it is without poorly thought through notions like "public privacy" eroding them further.