A Boring Google Lawsuit

Google Street View has been discussed in this space before, since Pittsburgh is one of the few cities to have it. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a way for people to look at urban topography from the sidewalk – a human’s eye view, which is a far more useful navigational tool than a bird’s eye view.

The Boring family is suing Google for driving into their private driveway and including the resultant images in its searches. They might actually have a case, since the Smoking Gun shows how intrusive Google’s camera car appeared to be (in these pictures, specifically).

The legal side isn’t what interests me. Instead, we look to the Associated Press’s article about the invasion of privacy suit, which makes great pains to blast the Boring door wide open with information freely available on the Allegheny County website!

Anybody interested in purchasing property in the area knows about the utility of the county’s real estate website. There is far more information there than a series of multi-angle photographs, as the Associated Press indicates in its coverage. It makes one ask the question, possibly to oneself or even possibly to others: is it ok for the government to compile and offer this kind of information to anybody, instantly, and yet not ok for a private company like Google to take pictures of somebody’s front yard?

2 Comments so far

  1. Udayan Tripathi (udayan) on April 11th, 2008 @ 12:28 pm

    I’m not so keen on Google driving up a driveway, purely because it is private property even if it is obviously a road of some sort. If their Street View vehicles take photos from the road of private property viewable from the public roadway, it’s fine. It’s content that you could see if you were walking along the sidewalk.

    But driving up your driveway, up to your door… that’s a bit too close, even if it is trying to index all the world’s information.


  2. dctraveler on May 1st, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

    I am not too keen on all of this either. I found my company on the web in this way. There were pictures of our building, including the neighbors garbage. My company does not have direct contact with the public, so there really is no need for them to see where we work. Let alone to think we are that messy. (Ugh!)



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