The Google Street View project has the goal to photograph the streets of America and beyond, and the views from those streets, which sometimes results in people getting their photos taken in public places without their permission; resulting in some fun controversy.
This time, it looks like Google has gone too far.
According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, a Pittsburgh suburb couple is suing Google for trespassing on their property and publishing Street View photographs which were taken from their private lane and private driveway.
They charged Google with “a substantial and highly offensive” intrusion, saying Oakridge Lane is marked with a “Private Road” sign and Google’s photographers would have had to enter it to capture the images.
They are seeking unspecified damages in excess of $25,000 for invasion of privacy, trespassing, negligence and lowering their property value. The Borings also asked the court for an injunction to remove any and all pictures from the Web site and requested that it “cease and desist” from entering their lane or any other private roads.
Google responded with a statement that is totally irrelevant to the lawsuit :
“There is no merit to this action. It is unfortunate litigation was chosen to address the concern because we have visible tools, such as a YouTube video, to help people learn about imagery removal and an easy-to-use process to facilitate image removal.
As a matter of policy, imagery for Street View is taken in public streets and what any person can readily capture or see in the public domain.”
The problem in this case is not that of the plantiff’s, and they should not be forced to opt-out the photos of their residence that Google took while trespassing on their soil. Photos taken from the public view are one issue, but the Google Brigade of Street View cars invading private residences and publishing photos of which can only be obtained via trespassing is an entirely different monster.
If this case goes to trial or Google settles out of court, expect an onslaught of private lane owners and other homeowners making sure that Google, or any other local search company, has not done the same to them.