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.'"
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."
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."
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."