“Boring” Lawsuit Confronts Google Street View

    April 7, 2008

It was only a matter of time before Google got sued over Street View; the real question was which privacy group (or sympathetic person representing a privacy group) would be first to file.  And now a couple with the last name "Boring" has beaten them all to it.

Aaron and Christine Boring believe Google trespassed on their property and invaded their privacy by taking pictures of a house near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Borings’ claim may be based in fact – a legal document supplied by The Smoking Gun states that they own a 50-foot right of way, and some of the Street View photos were obviously taken from much closer spots.

Google Street View's Lawsuit
 Street View Shot Of The Borings’ House

Other aspects of the lawsuit are rather comical, however.  Should you type the Borings’ address (1567 Oakridge Lane, Pittsburgh, PA 15237) into Google Maps, for example, you’ll need to do quite a bit of scrolling before ever getting a glimpse of their house.  Then, after catching sight, you’ll find it’s not the sort of place you’re likely to visit.

The Borings live on an admirably large lot, and own what appear to be two garages.  Unfortunately, a gravel lane is all that leads to the property, power lines aren’t too far away, and the grass is in sad shape.  The pool is quite small, two window air conditioning units are visible, and a door-sized part of an exterior wall appears to be made of plywood.

Because Google snapped pics of all this, the Borings want "in excess of Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars for compensatory, incidental and consequential damages, punitive damages, costs, all allowable attorneys’ fees, and all other damages deemed to be just," according to the court document.

It should be interesting to see how things turn out.  If the Borings win, Google will be put in a weak position.  But if they lose, everyone and everything hoping to file suit in the future may get placed at a similar legal disadvantage.