Feeds

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

Defends Street View, scoffs at The Borings

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.