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Debate erupts over Google Maps blurring Supreme Court Justice’s home

Twitter users are arguing about blurry images on Google Maps hiding the homes of Supreme Court justices after the draft decision hinting at a possible fall was leaked Roe v. calf.

As protesters swept into the homes of scores of judges over the weekend, including Brett Kavanuagh and Samuel Alito, Twitter users noticed their homes were blurry in Google Maps’ Street View feature.

Google was quickly accused by some of trying to protect the judges from scrutiny, while others noted that Kavanaugh’s address had long been public knowledge and the scene of numerous protests and press interactions in the past.

The leaked decision indicated that Kavanaugh would side with Alito to overturn the verdict, which helps protect abortion rights in the United States

“The right to privacy appears to be unique to SCOTUS,” wrote one user. “‘Rules for you, but not for me.'”

Similar remarks were also made regarding blurry images of Alito’s house.

The Daily Dot reached out to Google to inquire about the blur, but received no response as of press time. However, it seems unlikely that Google was involved in the decision to blur the houses. The feature is available to anyone online, which means the judges themselves could have requested the redacting.

As noted by other users, the houses are still visible in other services such as Apple Maps and Bing Maps.

The online debate wasn’t just about covering up images of the judges’ homes. Disputes over whether it was moral to protest outside a person’s home exploded.

Jeremy Boreing, CEO of conservative media outlet Daily Wire, argued that protesting outside the home was unjustifiable.

“Not. Protest. At. Private. Homes,” he tweeted. “I can’t think of a single exception.”

The editors for the Washington Post agreed, describing such protests as “particularly problematic”.

“Staking a judge’s house is problematic … It seeks to put direct public pressure on a decision-making process that needs to be controlled, evidence-based and rational if there is to be any hope of an independent judiciary,” a tweet said, the outlet states.

But many others believed such protests were a moral imperative and encouraged more people to join.

“Please keep protesting outside people’s homes,” wrote one Twitter user. “It’s hitting them hard and together they’re demanding that you stop. Do not stop. It is working.”

The protests appear to have had an impact, albeit not in relation to abortion rights. The Senate on Monday passed bipartisan legislation that expands security protections for judges’ immediate family members.

“The fact that the political establishment was so spooked by the protests at Kavanaugh’s home that they passed legislation within hours to increase security for SCOTUS is actually further evidence that protests at their homes are effective.” , argued another Twitter user.

Although three of the six judges live in Virginia, a state with laws against outside-home protests, the seriousness of the situation is unlikely to deter protesters any time soon.

And while the blurring on Google Maps was almost certainly ordered by the judges themselves, Google has set a limit on what it allows in relation to such protests.

After pro-choice group Ruth Sent Us created a My Maps file containing the conservative judges’ addresses, Google quickly removed it for violating their policies.

“We have clear policies that prohibit the use of personal information on My Maps, and users can flag content that they believe violates our policies so that it can be reviewed,” a Google spokesperson told the Daily Wire. “After reviewing this card, we determined it violated our policy on personal and confidential information and have removed it.”


Read more about the Daily Dot’s technical and political coverage

*Initial publication: May 10, 2022 3:23 pm CDT

Michael Thalen

Mikael Thalen is a Seattle-based tech and security reporter covering social media, data breaches, hackers and more.

Michael Thalen

https://www.dailydot.com/debug/google-maps-blurring-supreme-court-justice-home-protest/ Debate erupts over Google Maps blurring Supreme Court Justice’s home

Jaclyn Diaz

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