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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
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.