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Monday, July 21, 2008

New Campaign Raises Child Safety Concerns Over Google's 'Street View'

A team of policy experts, law enforcement officers, community leaders, and others called Stop Child Predators have launched a public education campaign called Stop Internet Predators designed to increase awareness of emerging Internet technologies that can endanger children's safety and privacy.

The campaign seeks to educate parents and communities on emerging online threats and empower them with the tools and resources to act to protect their children's safety and privacy.

"By increasing awareness, Stop Internet Predators seeks to limit the potential for child predators to abuse online technologies to prey on children," says Stacie Rumenap, executive director of Stop Child Predators.

A special focus of the campaign is devoted to a particularly alarming technology provided by Google maps, the organization says. As part of the launch, Rumenap is featured in a video, which shows how the Google "Street View" application allows Internet users to view high resolution pictures of homes, schools, and in some cases, children playing outside, simply by typing in a local address.

"This technology shows anyone in the world our communities, and exposes not only the routes from the bus stops to homes, but our children, without ever stepping foot in our neighborhoods," says Rumenap.

This new initiative has already attracted supporting organizations, including Community VOICES, Ryan United, and others, says Stop Child Predators.

"After going on Street View, I saw a picture of my neighbor's child playing basketball in his driveway," says Laurie Myers, Community VOICES president. "As the Internet evolves the way in which predators prey on children evolves with it. We as parents owe it to our children to educate ourselves on the potential dangers by being proactive."

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