Links & Law - Information about legal aspects of search engines, linking and framing

Hyperlink & Search Engine Law News  Decisions & Court Documents Worldwide Legal Resources (Hyperlink & Search Engine Law Articles) Linking Law Cases Search Engine Law Publications by Dr. Stephan Ott Technical    Background

Google wins Street View case in Pennsylvania

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Pennsylvania family against Google. Plaintiffs had alleged invasion of privacy, trespass and unjust enrichment, because Google had published photos of their residence in its Street View feature. The street, in which the home of the plaintiffs is located is marked as "Private Road". Aaron and Christine Boring sued for compensatory and punitive damages, seeking more than 17.000 $.

The judge dismissed the invasion of privacy claim, because he saw no facts that were sufficient to establish that the intrusion could be expected to cause "mental suffering, shame or humiliation to a person of ordinary sensibilities." "While it is easy to imagine that many whose property appears on Google's virtual maps resent the privacy implications, it is hard to believe that any other than the most exquisitely sensitive would suffer shame or humiliation", the judge said. He deemed the contended suffering to be less severe because plaintiffs had failed to take readily available measures to protect their own privacy. They could have used a procedure provided by Google to remove the images from Google Street View. Unfortuantely the judge did not tell, why the plaintiffs could be refered to use Google's opt-out system, if the defandant was in fact violating their privacy rights. Seems to me like a circular argument.

As for the other claims, plaintiffs failed to allege a duty of care, that Google could have violated. They also could not support their contention that their property decreased in value.

So, according to the judge, the plaintiffs have failed to state a claim under any count.

The couple already aksed the judge to reconsider their dismissed lawsuit. Some excerpts from their motion for reconsideration:

"This case is about every little guy, once again being trampled upon by the big shoe of big business. With nowhere to turn but the American Courts, he is cast away to endure the pinpricks of trespass that bleed our American liberty to death. Whether the trespass is by a foreign king, or the royalty of big business, does not matter. The Borings, such as our American forefathers in millennia past, are entitled to proclaim, 'Google, Don't Tread On Me.'"

"The Borings should not need to post gates and guard dogs, nor should they need to institute batteries of cannons in their driveways. They should have the full power and authority of our American Courts at their defense. But, now, this Court has left the American right of private property helpless, injured, and without remedy."

"This Court tells Google that it is okay to enter onto a person's private property without permission. I would not teach that rule to my child. This Court's ruling makes our private property a Google Slave; our property is no longer our own: it is forced to work for another, against its will, without compensation, for the profit of another. The Federal Court should free slavery, not create it."

"Google's defense is that the grass will stand back up, and there was no gate or guard dog. Or, possibly, that you can pick the fruit off that poison tree by: a) stopping what you are doing; b) going to a computer, if you know how to use one; c) accessing a computer at the cost of doing so; d) accessing the Internet at the cost of doing so; e) researching and becoming familiar with the Google program by going onto their website properties; f) removing the pictures Google acquired while trespassing on your property; and g) not pursuing the happiness you might otherwise be finding. All while they directly and indirectly advertise to you. The more Google injures, the more money they make."





The Links & Law website is updated regularily, so  check back for updated information and resources about search engine and linking issues.

You are currently in the archive with older news. A complete list of the updates can be found here!


Masthead/Curriculum Vitae
Copyright © 2002-2008 Dr. Stephan Ott 

All Rights Reserved.