Feeds

Google: 'Even in the desert, privacy does not exist'

Defends Street View, scoffs at The Borings

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

As Google's government-approved spycar fleet drives across the UK, doing its best to photograph every inch of the country, the search giant cum global menace has told the world that "even in today's desert, complete privacy does not exist."

Back in April, we told you the tale of Mr. and Mrs. Boring, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania couple that sued Google in federal court after pan-and-zoomable pics of their swimming pool turned up on Google Street View.

The Borings claim that a Google spycar appeared on their private road without proper authorization. Insisting this private road is tagged with a "Private Road, No Trespassing" sign, they call Google's behavior "an intentional and/or grossly reckless invasion of...seclusion."

Well, Google has now filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, and in defending Street View, it cites the Restatement of Torts, a legal guideline from the American Law Institute: "Complete privacy does not exist in this world except in a desert, and anyone who is not a hermit must expect and endure the ordinary incidents of the community life of which he is a part," the Restatement says.

Then Google goes a step further: "Today's satellite-image technology means that even in today's desert, complete privacy does not exist."

In any event, the Borings live far from the desert, Google says, and it has every right to photograph their home. "Although they live on a privately maintained road, the road is shared by several neighbors and there is nothing around their home intended to prevent the occasional entry by a stranger onto their driveway," the motion continues. "There is no gate, no 'keep out' sign, nor watch guard standing watch."

Er, the Borings do claim a "Private Road, No Trespassing" sign. But Google dismisses this too. "Plaintiff's allegation of a 'private road' sign at the top of their street standing alone is insufficient to negate Google's privileged and trivial entry upon Plaintiff's property."

The search giant also returns to the satellite argument. "There is no fence surrounding the property, nor is it located where the yard that cannot be seen by satellite or low-flying aircraft." So, if Google can put an aerial photo of your swimming pool on Google Earth, it can put a closeup on Google Street View. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.