The Google Street View lawsuit filed by Aaron and Christine Boring, claiming invasion of privacy because the Google Streetview van snapped pictures after going down their posted, private road, has been dismissed by the Court.
According to the judge, “the plaintiffs have failed to state a claim under any count.”
Interestingly, while Google claimed that the lawsuit was overkill because the Borings had many other options at their disposal – including asking Google to remove the images of their house from the Google Maps service – which Google did – the judge in the case also denied the Borings’ request for an injunction which would require that Google never post pictures of their private property. Said the judge, “The Plaintiffs have failed to plead – much less set out facts supporting – a plausible claim of entitlement to injunctive relief.”
While we were not there, this almost certainly means one of two things: either the Court felt that Google has a right to take pictures nearly anywhere, and post them to Google Maps, or the Borings’ lawyer pleaded the case poorly.
While one can only hope, given the broad scope of the first scenario, that it was the latter, it may well be that Google takes it to be the former. According to a Google spokesperson, Google is pleased with the outcome, and “Google respects individual privacy. We blur identifiable faces and license plates in Street View and we offer easy-to-use removal tools so users can decide for themselves whether or not they want a given image to appear in Street View. It is unfortunate the parties involved decided to pursue litigation instead of making use of these tools.”
But, should one have to request removal of a photo after the fact rather than be able to tell Google “no” ahead of time? Or, even, Google doing the right thing and not even taking the picture? Take, for example, the now infamous Google Street View picture of the woman urinating in the street in Madrid. Or, even, a picture of a property clearly posted as “private”.