The Borings renew Street View fight
'Our home a Google Slave'
Mr and Mrs Boring have renewed their Google Street View tilt.
Late last week, lawyers for the now-famous Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania couple asked a federal judge to reconsider his recent decision to dismiss the privacy suit they filed last April after a Google spycar snapped photos of their swimming pool and tossed them onto the interwebs.
"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," said the couple's motion for reconsideration.
"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.'"
Last spring, Aaron and Christine Boring sued the Mountain View Chocolate Factory for invasion of privacy after a Google spycar drove down their private driveway, snapped 360-degree, pan-and-zoomable pics of their home and swimming pool, and tossed them onto Street View, Google's effort to photograph the entire planet at eye level.
Google and the Borings disagree on how private the private driveway is. The Borings have said the road is tagged with a sign that reads "Private Road, No Trespassing". But Google says there was no sign and that the road is shared with other neighbors.
In any event, the judge dismissed the suit - mainly because it did more to damage the couple's privacy than than Street View ever did. Rather than embrace the Streisand Effect, the judge said, the couple could have asked Google to remove their house and swimming pool from the net.
But the Borings have now urged the court to reverse its stance, accusing Google of enslavement. "This Court 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," the motion says. "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." ®
And of course, IIRC, "Tresapassers Will Be Prosecuted" has no legal meaning at all..
Has anyone yet set up:
- A dedicated website - www.watchtheboringsathome.com ?
- A MySpace group?
- Google earth kmz link?
Give 'em heck!
@Steve - Driveway vs. Road
It's apparently shared with other residents, so it's not a driveway at least in so far as we understand the term here in the UK. However they do speak a different language in the US, but when reading stories from the US we tend to read them as if they were written in English.
That, however, is not my point. This is:
Even if there was a sign I wouldn't assume, on seeing it, that it had any standing in law. I don't know exactly how the law works or people operate over there. Over here, however, such signs are quite common and are often misleading. A couple of hundred yards from my house there is a cul de sac that bears a sign reading PRIVATE ROAD NO PUBLIC ACCESS. However a quick check of public records shows the road to have been adopted by the council about thirty years ago. As such it can not be a private road. Some people want to feel they live in private gated communities when they don't. It seems to give them a feeling of power over the great unwashed, but to my mind there is a simple way to deal with these idiots. The local council, royal mail, etc. should simply stop at the sign and refuse to go further. How would they feel if their post was dumped at the end of the street, the bin men wouldn't collect their bins, the council wouldn't repair the road, the water mains became their responsibility from the main road and so on?
Within a couple of miles of here there are half a dozen similar examples, indeed such signs are so common that unless they are official looking local authority signs I assume them to be illegitimate.
Were I in Google's shoes I would set my navigation softare up using the definitive map (or whatever the US equivalent happens to be) and then there could be no reasonable argument.
BTW in English law I thought there had to be a clear boundary for trespass to be deemed to have taken place, even then the intruder must be asked to leave. Otherwise every uninvited caller to knock on my door would be guilty of trespass. The sign "Tresapassers Will Be Prosecuted" does not mean (even in Winnie the Pooh) that by being on the land you are trespassing, it means that if you trespass on the land you will be prosecuted. A subtle but important difference.