Posted 06/02/2015 at 8:15 AM
Posted 2 years ago
Google Maps has become an all-important tool for many people these days to get a fix on locations for things like offices, restaurants and other places.
But in the case of locations that are highly sensitive, the tool may be entirely too effective – and dangerous.
It’s been discovered that Google Maps has revealed the locations of domestic violence shelters across the United States.
These shelters are safe havens for their victims, and so they purposely mask their precise locations to protect those who stay under their roofs.
But a simple request within the search bar of Google Maps will not only reveal the offices of these domestic violence organizations, but will also disclose where their secret safe houses are down to the exact positioning on the block.
For those victims, the fact that this information can be so easily obtained by their abusers puts them at serious risk since some incidents occur immediately after a victim leaves them and they are found soon after.
Workers in these domestic violence organizations have worked to keep this information under wraps even before the rise of Google and other search functions on the Internet.
At present, 19 states have laws regarding the privacy of those organizations’ safe houses, and eight states do levy penalties against those who willfully disclose such information.
Another issue comes from working with Google directly to address the situation.
Agencies will contact the company to remove all info except their phone number, but after a while when that task is completed, the information pops back up again.
One worker in Lafayette, Louisiana by the name of Jeremy Janice has started a petition to Google to be more proactive in preventing this information from being leaked online.
It currently has 41,000 signatures. Google has not made any comment on this issue as of yet.