Google's Street View - get used to no privacy

Bambi Francisco Roizen · February 18, 2009 · Short URL:

Search engine's picture-snapping of home on 'private road' wins in court

 The other day, I heard someone was taking photos of my home. At first blush, it raised concerns about the rationale behind the picture taking. It also occurred to me that it might be someone providing photos for Google Street View. Don't ask me why I thought of that. Nonetheless, in my opinion, taking photos for Street View is OK with me, even if the house was on road marked: private.

And, apparently the U.S. District Court for Western Pennsylvania thinks so as well. A Pittsburgh couple lost a suit, claiming that Street View is an invasion of privacy.

Here's from CNet:  Aaron and Christine Boring sued the Internet search giant last April, alleging that Google "significantly disregarded (their) privacy interests" when Street View cameras captured images of their house beyond signs marked "private road." The couple claimed in their five-count lawsuit that finding their home clearly visible on Google's Street View caused them "mental suffering" and diluted their home value. They sought more than $25,000 in damages and asked that the images of their home be taken off the site and destroyed.

However, the U.S. District Court for Western Pennsylvania wasn't impressed by the suit and dismissed it (PDF) Tuesday, saying the Borings "failed to state a claim under any count."

For its part, Google has said that it's legally allowed to photograph private roads because in the age of satellite and aerial imagery - there is no such thing as privacy. Back in June 2008, Google said in response to the complaint that, "Today's satellite-image technology means that...complete privacy does not exist."

(Image source:farm2.static)

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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