Rights group, Google in slug fest over `invasion of privacy’ charge

November 16th, 2007 - 4:24 pm ICT by admin  

London, Nov.16 (ANI): A human rights group has condemned search engine major Google for its snooping ways, though the latter believes that it is changing the world for the better.
Describing Google as the world’s “biggest Big Brother”, campaign group Privacy International was quoted by The Mirror as saying that Google handles 200 million searches every day, while millions more use its e-mail service, social networking sites and online calendars, all giving up personal information that detractors says is stored in the largest database on the planet.
It warns that Google will soon know about “our jobs, hobbies, whether we’re married, have children, where we go on holiday and even, with GPS on our new mobile phones, exactly where we are.”
It also apprehends that the Google Earth project - which harnesses satellites to allow anyone to zoom in on any spot on the planet - of ” turning us all into cyberspace snoops.”
Google’s chief scientists Ed Parsons says Google Earth is actually changing the world for the better. He says the Iraqis are using Google Earth maps to help navigate the sectarian neighbourhoods of Baghdad. Embattled residents use the information to plot routes to work which avoid the dangerous troublespots and militia groups.
Satellite pictures of razed villages and squalid refugee camps scattered across Darfur can be seen on Google Earth. The UN estimates that more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced.
Ed Parsons says: “For me it’s one of the most compelling ways to get all of us thinking about how we can reduce the effects of climate change.”
The site allows people to follow the fortunes of the endangered beasts. For example, elephants moving from the Kalahari to the Okavango Delta in Botswana and humpback whales making their 4,000 mile trip from the equator to the Antarctic can be followed as they make their spectacular treks.
Ed Parsons says: “What person whether a child or an adult wouldn’t be blown away by the sight of thousands of animals migrating across Africa.”
Google Earth was used by California’s firefighters last month to track and trace the raging blazes.
Nasa sent unmanned predator drone aircraft equipped with heat-seeking technology across the state to pinpoint where the fires started.
The information was then displayed on Google’s maps 20 minutes later to help emergency services organise evacuation plans.
The hunt for missing aviator Steve Fossett was given a massive boost by Google Earth.
Thousands of web users - including his friend Sir Richard Branson - scoured Google maps of Nevada looking for potential crash sites of the millionaire’s light aircraft.
The search for the record-breaking 63-year-old, who was the first to circumnavigate the globe solo in a balloon, was called off 17 days after he disappeared in September. Although he was not traced, Google surfers found six other previously undiscovered plane wrecks. (ANI)

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