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Google Scoffs At Complete Privacy

Company responds to Street View photo lawsuit

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Google’s Street View photography of a Pennsylvania residence drew a lawsuit from the owners, but Google dismissed the plaintiff’s opinion as being out of touch with the real world.

"You already have zero privacy - get over it."
-- ex-Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy on the topic of how much privacy people have, circa 1999.

McNealy’s old pal Eric Schmidt, or at least his Google legal team, may have channeled the loquacious executive in responding to a lawsuit filed against the search advertising company. Google’s legal response to Aaron and Christine Boring blasted their expectation of privacy as being, well, so last century.

In Google’s opinion being able to see the front of a house from a driveway tosses away any claim at having one’s privacy violated. The Borings sued Google in April over photos a Google Street View camera car took from the street, which the Borings claim is a marked, private road.

The Smoking Gun published Google’s response to the suit. The search advertising company said "complete privacy does not exist" with regards to the photos they took and subsequently removed of the Boring’s home.

"Google has countered that the couple ‘live in a residential community in the twenty-first-century United States, where every step upon private property is not deemed by law to be an actionable trespass’," The Smoking Gun said. Part of Google’s request for dismissal contained the ‘no complete privacy’ line:

 

[c]omplete 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 [or she] is a part.

 

We’re surprised to learn that Google considers its roving cameras an ordinary part of everyday existence. Community life springs from communities, not data-voracious corporations. While the legal argument sounds plausible, the attitude behind Google’s position steps beyond arrogant into upraised middle-finger territory.

Google Scoffs At Complete Privacy
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  • Guest

    Love your site and newsletters but I’m seriously considering unsubscibing.

    Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to have the page skip down to the comments box when you are half way through reading a story?

    It’s your site so do what you want… just had to get it off my chest..!

    • Guest

      I agree this feature is very annoying.

  • Guest

    A person comes to the page to read the article, then if they choose to they can comment.  You shouldn’t try to force comments before the user even has a chance to read the article.  I tried to send this article to my boss but with all the SQL injection attacks we have seen recently that plant an IFrame and forward you to a page to download a virus as soon as she realized it was redirecting her she closed the page.  This is in really bad form and this will lose you alot of current readers and possibly make potential new readers think twice before returning to your site.

    Not to mention I got my copy of your news letter today and it was FULL of dead links.  I had to work hard to find the stories you are offering me.  That shouldnt be.

    Thanks for the great work but you should really think about changing both the forwarding practice and your QC on the news letter.

  • Guest

    Like the ‘Jack and Gill’ arguement and ‘Google came tumbling after’.
    Not to respect privacy because other people don’t isn’t much of an arguement.

    Google is investing too much money in doing silly things.

    When people say they don’t like or want something, they don’t. If they do, they do.
    If the don’ts outweight the do’s, Google should pay attention, respect people’s rights and butt out.

    Looking for others to justify behaviour is not the attiude of mature or responisble company.

  • Godhammer

    re: "[c]omplete 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 [or she] is a part."

    The spy satellites (USA) looking merrily on swathes of the Sahara for terrorist activity must have a better privacy policy than I would have thought.

  • Guest

    Meh… Google sucks anyways

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    In Google’s opinion being able to see the front of a house from a driveway tosses away any claim at having one’s privacy violated. The Borings sued Google in April over photos a Google Street View camera car took from the street, which the Borings claim is a marked, private road.

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