Whenever somebody begins a rant with “Who gave X the right to…” I reach for my polemical guns. In this particular case, Sean Copeland at EarthHack.net begins badly by asking, “Who gave Google the right to web publish photographs of my backyard so detailed that I can see the details of my landscaping?” He’s “working on a legislative and lobbying strategy to drive action in Washington on this assault on our privacy.”
Does he really not know? The answer is: Because the technology and the imagery is available; because information wants to be free; because it is more equitable to have unfettered access to such information than to have access determined by the ability to pay or governmental fiat; because I’ll buy the high-resolution image of your backyard from a French company and overlay it on Google Earth and publish this to a German forum if I want; because somebody else will provide access to a server that does this for any region, from outside any jurisdiction you care to name, using any arbitrary web platform; because nobody cares about your landscaping, except for the people who do, who will find a way to see it; because the circumvention of whatever measures you propose will cost less in time and effort than the measures you propose.
PS You find privacy luddites in the strangest places.
PPS. Should I not post over the next 3 days, it’ll be because this place has no wifi.