Google Selectively Protecting Cows' Privacy


Google doesn't just care about people's privacy; cattle is somewhere on the company's list of living beings it doesn't want to make angry as well. Namely, as certain David Shariatmadari pointed out on Twitter, Google Street View car was cruising the UK in August of last year when it recorded two cows peacefully grazing grass next to the road in Coe Fen near Cambridge. After the recorded content was uploaded to the cloud, Google's automatic facial recognition software promptly identified the face of the nearer cow and notified the company's face-blurring code to do its thing. Interestingly enough, the cow that was farther away from the Street View car wasn't so lucky and its face can clearly be seen online. For your convenience, there's a screencap of the said duo below this article.

Media outlets allegedly tried reaching out the brown bovine on the left but it refused to comment on the situation. It's unclear whether Google will be facing a lawsuit over this giant oversight but at least the cow's spouse didn't catch it smoking because of Street View. BBC managed to get hold of one of Google's representatives who was incredibly amused—or better said: amoosed—with the situation in the mood for puns. "We thought you were pulling the 'udder' one when we 'herd' the 'moos', but it's clear that our automatic face-blurring technology has been a little overzealous," stated the spokesperson. Despite that, Google's representative revealed that no one at Google begrudges the said cow "milking its five minutes of fame" due to this.

All puns and other joking aside, it's no secret that Google takes people's privacy rather seriously, especially in the context of Street View. Its automated algorithms have been blurring human faces and vehicle license plates for years as the Mountain View-based company is constantly repeating it's not looking to spy on anyone with its Street View cars equipped with numerous cameras and sensors. That isn't to say things were always like that. In fact, the 2010 spying scandal with Street View and Niantic's CEO John Hanke in the center of it is still well-remembered today.



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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]

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