Google Sued For Trespassing

    August 25, 2008

A California resident is suing Google for trespassing. Apparently Google’s Street View driver ignored a "No Trespassing" sign, drove down a private road, and snapped photos of the resident’s house.

The resident decided that simply submitting a removal request was too easy–and lacked any kind of chance for a settlement from Google–so the case is now before a judge. While legal-eagles will enjoy the debate over whether this truly is an invasion of privacy, or trespassing, I got a kick out of Ars Technica’s comparison to how Google should have treated the sign:

In the real world, things like private roads and trespassing signs serve the same purpose as the tools Google provides for turning away its indexing robots; they are opt-out mechanisms from an earlier age. Forcing people to build a private road, erect a sign, and then still use some online tools to have the pictures pulled (after already being available to the world) seems unduly burdensome on a common-sense level, and it has little to do with whether a stranger pulls into your driveway simply in order to turn around.

The lesson here? If you don’t won’t Google driving on private property, use a "NoIndex, NoFollow" sign instead of "No Trespassing." ;-)