Does Google’s StreetView invade privacy and encroach upon civil liberties? There are those who say that it does, and into this group we would have to place the Pennsylvania couple, Aaron and Christine Boring, who are suing the search company for both intentional and/or grossly reckless invasion of privacy and mental distress. They seek a minimum of $25,000.
The Borings put privacy high on their requirements when they purchased their house, in an out-of-the-way location, on a street marked with a “Private Road” sign. Recently, a Google StreetView van was tasked with surveying the area, and the driver turned onto the road, continuing all the while to capture images (web chatter suggests that the camera, being GPS-linked, cannot be disabled in the van) as they turned around.
The end result? Google sued for $25,000. Quite how Allegheny County’s Office of Property Assessments escaped being named in the suit escapes us, as they include a photo of the couple’s home on their website too.
But really, it’s all so darned unnecessary. If you find any image on Google StreetView that you believe violates your privacy, you can apply to Google to have it removed. Click on the StreetView Help link in the upper right hand corner of the Google Maps browser window and at the bottom of the new page you’ll see a link entitled “Report inappropriate image”. Complete a few fields and then submit the form for Google to consider. Had the Borings done this, the problem would quietly have gone away. Now, though, far from enjoying the peace and quiet of their private location, pictures of the Boring house are cropping up all over the web.
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