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During the early years of Google Maps and Google Earth, any street information stopped at the California border, although cities such as Paris, France, and San Francisco were viewable as satellite aerials. Since February 9, Google Maps’ “Street View" function has allowed virtual tourists to see a variety of streets in Tijuana with 360 degrees of perspective.

Tijuana street views currently available are along main thoroughfares such as Via Rapida Poniente, Boulevard Aguas Calientes, parts of Zona Centro, Las Playas, Fundadores, and Gato Bronco. Google is taking the street-view images with cameras mounted on automobiles that cruise the city. Google has also taken photos of areas inaccessible to auto traffic for views of city parks, university campuses, and historical centers, where most of the traffic is pedestrian.

Local lawyers have criticized the street-view mapping of Tijuana as constituting a potential invasion of privacy and fret over images of citizens leaving strip clubs, visiting abortion clinics, or engaging in other possibly embarrassing behavior. Google has responded by claiming that all the images it uses are of public property and that it has made efforts to remove any images containing objectionable material.

Source: Frontera

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David Dodd Feb. 19, 2010 @ 1:29 p.m.

Two observations from a Tijuanense point of view:

First, litigation in Mexico takes years, even decades sometimes. So even if these lawyers wanted to take some sort of action (a questionable decision regardless, as privacy laws here do not apply to images outside of the business establishment), by the time it went to trial, the damage would have already been done. Most threats of court action in Mexico are thinly veiled, to say the least.

Secondly, I challenge any non-Tijuanense to identify exactly where "gato bronco" (wild cat) is. Street names are a relatively new method of identification here, as landmarks have always been the default method of directional aid. Without such landmarks, the street names and the images obtained from such a system are almost meaningless in Tijuana. Here, if someone wishes to locate a certain something, the directions given by a local are almost sure to include mostly landmarks as references with little or no indication of the names of the streets.


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