For the first time that I am aware of, a government official “admits” Google Earth raises privacy concerns. The Age reports that while Australia’s Attorney-General Philip Ruddock does not consider Google Earth to constitute an additional security risk just now, “I am aware of privacy concerns raised in relation to Google Earth.”
It’s interesting that this should first crop up in Australia, which has a lot of very remote rural farming. I myself admit that as a life-long city dweller, I don’t much care if the world can see the rooftop of my apartment. Property owners, on the other hand, especially those with large tracts of it, might feel somewhat naked, suddenly.
Even so, property ownership is not the same as an absolute right to privacy. There are many other legal ways of observing private property — from planes, helicopters, clifftops, ladders… Any of these currently provide much better papparazzi possibilities.
(Note to self: Business idea: Sell next generation private satellite imagery of celebrities to Hola, The National Enquirer, Paris Match… and invest in pergola manufacturers.)