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Google Privacy The Almighty Buck The Courts Technology

Google Loses Street View Suit, Forced To Pay $1 225

Posted by timothy
from the token-victory dept.
Translation Error writes "Two and a half years ago, the Borings sued Google for invading their privacy by driving onto their private driveway and taking pictures of their house to display on Google Street View. Now, the case has finally come to a close with the judge ruling in favor of the Borings and awarding them the princely sum of $1. While the judge found the Borings to be in the right, she awarded them only nominal damages, as the fact that they had already made images of their home available on a real estate site and didn't bother to seal the lawsuit to minimize publicity indicated the Borings neither valued their privacy nor had it been affected in any great way by Google's actions."
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Google Loses Street View Suit, Forced To Pay $1

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  • Ah, Trespassing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alaren (682568) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:49PM (#34425312)

    For those who haven't taken property or tort law classes, it's worth noting that $1 damages is not an uncommon award in trespassing cases. Punitive damages are unlikely if there is not a showing of disregarded warnings, maliciousness, or similar. Actual damages are more common but in many cases, there aren't any actual damages. Nominative damages are awarded in order to acknowledge the owners' property rights were indeed violated; depending on attorney's fees, this can be an extremely pyrrhic victory.

    I'm intrigued by the court's treatment of the privacy issues, though. In particular, we occasionally see stories around here where trespass law--and sometimes copyright law--is used to shut down and even jail photographers taking pictures in public places... but here we have the opposite, photography taking place in a private (if not entirely "private") space and the response is nominative damages against a wealthy corporation. It's a frustrating disconnect.

    (Yes, I am a lawyer, but of course none of this should be construed as legal advice.)

  • Re:Precedent (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EasyTarget (43516) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:54PM (#34425366) Journal

    "I'd be interested in seeing how Google would react if someone drove into their parking lot, hauled out a camera and started photographing their campus"

    What? you mean like this...
    http://chrisonstad.blogspot.com/2007/02/my-trip-to-google-with-photos.html [blogspot.com]

    More: http://www.bing.com/search?q=my+photos+of+google+campus [bing.com]

  • laugh out loud (Score:2, Interesting)

    by greymond (539980) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:55PM (#34425368) Homepage Journal

    So they have to pay a dollar...I wonder how much it cost in legal and a check fee for that...not that Google would care...

    So let's see, what's the worst way to deliver that $1? Pennies? A moist dollar? An out of state check/money order so it has a week hold on it?

  • Re:Precedent (Score:5, Interesting)

    by macshit (157376) <miles@ g n u.org> on Thursday December 02, 2010 @08:48PM (#34426562) Homepage

    "I'd be interested in seeing how Google would react if someone drove into their parking lot, hauled out a camera and started photographing their campus"

    What? you mean like this... http://chrisonstad.blogspot.com/2007/02/my-trip-to-google-with-photos.html [blogspot.com]

    More: http://www.bing.com/search?q=my+photos+of+google+campus [bing.com]

    haha! you used bing!

    Actually, I'm curious: why did you use bing? Plugging your bing search into google yields much better results -- the google search actually turns up mostly photos of google campuses (with your first link as the first hit!), whereas the bing results seem to all be just photos of various college campuses that happen to be hosted on google sites....

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