Couple Sues Google over “StreetView,” Google Responds

 

Patti Day, a PhD student in Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, forwarded the following case. On April 4, 2008, the Smoking Gun reported that a Pittsburgh couple is suing Google over its “Street View,” claiming invasio of privacy. Notabely, Smoking Gun points out that Allegheny County’s Office of Property Assessments also includes a photo of the couple’s home on its website.  Four days ago, the Smoking Gun reported that Google recently countered that the couple “live in a residential community in the twenty-first-century United States, where every step upon private property is not deemed by law to be an actionable trespass.”  See the clips below for more info.

Couple Sues Google Over StreetView

 APRIL 4–A Pittsburgh couple is suing Google for invasion of privacy, claiming that the web giant’s popular “Street View” mapping feature has made a photo of their home available to online searchers. Aaron and Christine Boring accuse Google of an “intentional and/or grossly reckless invasion” of their seclusion and privacy since they live on a street that is “clearly marked with a ‘Private Road’ sign,” according to a lawsuit the couple filed this week in Allegheny County’s Court of Common Pleas. A copy of the April 2 complaint can be found below. According to the Borings, they purchased their Oakridge Lane home in late-2006 for “a considerable sum of money,” noting that a “major component of their purchase decision was a desire for privacy.” But when Pittsburgh was added last October to the roster of cities covered by Google’s “Street View” feature, the Borings allege, their “private information was made known to the public,” causing them “mental suffering” and diminishing the value of their home (which cost the couple $163,000, according to property records). The Borings are seeking in excess of $25,000 in damages and want a court order directing Google to destroy images of their home…

For full text of the article, visit: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0404081google1.html?link=eaf

Source: Smoking Gun, April 4, 2008

Google – “Complete Privacy Does Not Exist”

JULY 30–Arguing that technology has ensured that “complete privacy does not exist,” Google contends that a Pennsylvania family has no legal grounds to sue the search giant for publishing photos of their home on its popular “Street View” mapping feature. Responding to an invasion of privacy lawsuit filed by Aaron and Christine Boring, Google has countered that the couple “live in a residential community in the twenty-first-century United States, where every step upon private property is not deemed by law to be an actionable trespass.” In a motion to dismiss the Borings’s federal complaint, Google’s six-lawyer team asserts that, “Today’s satellite-image technology means that even in today’s desert, complete privacy does not exist. In any event, Plaintiffs live far from the desert and are far from hermits.”…

For full text of the article, visit: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0730081google1.html

Source: Smoking Gun, July 30, 2008

 

Kevin Pomfret, in his blog Spatial Law, gives a quick legal analysis of the case, see Privacy Lawsuit Against Google Earth.

See also the following Geodata Policy blog posting on a Minnesota town that sued Google over Street View.

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