Google Scoffs At Complete Privacy
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.