back to article Google: 'Even in the desert, privacy does not exist'

As Google's government-approved spycar fleet drives across the UK, doing its best to photograph every inch of the country, the search giant cum global menace has told the world that "even in today's desert, complete privacy does not exist." Back in April, we told you the tale of Mr. and Mrs. Boring, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    They Need to Do Some Street View in The Hamptons

    Go up and down a few of THOSE private roads, and show some snaps of THEM FOLKS sunning by their massive pools.

    I'll lay odds their "Google- er, eminent domain" argument goes down like The Hindenberg.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Google so definitely needs to be checked

    On something, just anything, otherwise we are going to wake up one day and find that Google rules the world.

  3. Dalen
    Black Helicopters


    All hail our new googly overlords?

  4. Mr Fury

    I await with amusement

    Tales of a Street View car going down some Texans private road - I suspect Mr Hecklers and Mr Kochs fine wares may trump the Restatement of Torte.

  5. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  6. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


    All of my ISP's online services are converting to Google Apps. I'll be leaving them very shortly. They can "Google" me if they want to know where I've gone...

  7. Will

    Ruling the world

    If it comes to that, then it'll probably come to an all out battle between Google and M$...

  8. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    Gated communities?

    If you look around LA there are enclaves that are streetview free, despite everything around being slavishly recorded. Gated communities of the rich perhaps?

    Perhaps Mr & Mrs Boring need to put a gate at the entrance of their private road?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Google so definitely needs to be checked

    "...we are going to wake up one day and find that Google rules the world."

    I wake up some days hoping that has finally come true.

  10. Highlander
    Black Helicopters

    Do no Evil?

    What was that three word statemnent that supposedly summed up ther Google philosophy again?

    Oh yea, Do more evil.

    No, oops, it wasn't that, that's what it is now.....

    How long before a live feed from satellites in geosynchronous orbit starts feeding Google maps and Google Earth in real time? And we though You Tube was bad!? Oh, wait, You tube is Google now.

    Time for the camouflage net over the house and car I think....

    Black helicopter, because there's no icon for spy satellites.

  11. Gary

    Good Thing

    Fortunately, there also is no fence surrounding the Google Pillock Moble to prevent removal of property and/or personnel in same, and destruction of one and chastisement of the other. (Go on, you decide__!) Gary

  12. ben edwards


    Although Google does make a valid point with saying satellite tech makes privacy a moot point, the same exact reasoning can be used to argue positively for implied privacy. Namely, it's BECAUSE satellite imagery is so good that privacy should be granted first and revoked second, not automatically revoked just because you can be seen from a million miles away.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Satellite tvs car... get your story straight, Big G

    "Today's satellite-image technology means that even in today's desert, complete privacy does not exist."

    Maybe so, Mr Google, but I believe Mr and Mrs Boring (and others) were, are, and will be getting upset about your *cars* invading their privacy. And why not?

    If you'd stuck to satellite cameras, and not used low flying aircraft and DEFINITELY not street level cars, you'd not be in quite so much trouble right now.

    Come back AltaVista, all is forgiven.

    Paris. Privacy expert.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Give Google a googly <ok I'll break my own legs for that!)

    What we need is the equivalent of flash crowds - but flash Vs - everytime a Google car is in your street flick the V's at it. Make the photos unusable. D

  15. Bear

    what planet are they on??

    Trespass law "is insufficient to negate Google's privileged and trivial entry upon Plaintiff's property." Come again?

    Google has a privileged entry? Who do they believe they are? The Borings did pay to have their privacy, which Google completely disregarded. What right does Google have to photograph and publish everything.

    As for the Restatement of Torts go: how is someone sneaking up on me and photographing me and publishing said photography part of "the ordinary incidents of the community life of which he is a part"?

    Just because all the Googlers are exhibitionists does not mean a) the rest of the world is, and b) that we want to participate.

    I seem to also recall that the penalty for trespass was hanging -- later to be substituted for being sent to Bondi Beach.

  16. Someone
    Thumb Up

    Another Google classic

    “…even in today’s desert, complete privacy does not exist.”

    That’s so good, it’s going to have to come back to haunt the Google bigwigs, just as “an IP address without additional information cannot” did.

  17. Zmodem

    only 1 thing left

    take a dump on the ceo of googles doorstep, or dont use them and makd the shares plumet while smashing your monitor after 10mins on another engine with result pages full of junk

  18. JC

    Boo, Google

    Arguing that there is no 100% privacy on earth as an excuse to invade someone's privacy is a bit offensive. Wanna bet how quickly they'd argue the opposite if they felt it more financially advantageous to do so?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @ second AC

    But they rule the world already

  20. Gord


    There appears to be a mob-think meme going around that because Google is so large that it must be evil. Big success = evil. Gotta drag 'em down to our size so we can again feel safe.

    I know you Brits have been measuring folks for their chains for centuries but where has it got you? Some very interesting castles with interesting dungeons and a weird gov't.

    Let 'em rule the world I say. Could they do any worse?

    Gord, on the other side of the world, safe from the overlords

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quick grab

    This is only a quick cash grab. But then again, US economy seem to runs on lawsuits. You have more chance (in the US) to become a millionair by sueing everything that move. then winning at the lottery. Sueing is the US's National Sport.

  22. David Gjester
    Paris Hilton

    Blind faith

    Everyone involved should have a read of the Ben Elton book "Blind Faith" Its hilarious and pointed in its treatment of the current trashy craze to be visible.

    (Paris, cos she loves pointless publicity)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Three steps to Googleworld

    Step One - There is no privacy - therefore we can photo and catalogue whatever we please (unless it's Dick Cheney's house).

    Step Two - there is no evil - therefore we can do whatever we please, censor the net, scrub celebrity mishaps from the record, tell lies etc.

    Step Three - There is no such thing as an individual - therefore we can take what we want from what you thought were your documents and files and publish them as our own. You searched the info on Google, used Googledocs to type it up and GMail to send it, therefore, you and it are ours.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    only a sign to keep out so thats ok.

    ... Google are implying that you have to physically stop them with a gate or a guard.

    I dont think that rule will wash here in the UK because we have the duality that if you do try and harm intruders (as Farmer Martin found) you get 5 years.

    Come near me with that black car and i will physically defend my personal space!!!

  25. Spider

    return the favour

    we need decent res images of the drivers of googlewagons. Make sure they're posted, so we can hunt them down. after all these images could be used by terrorists, therefore they have materials likely to support terrorism.

    42 days for the lot of 'em.

  26. Andy Worth

    Re:Give Google a googly <ok I'll break my own legs for that!)

    I already suggested that we should pull a moony at any of these cars we see.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    It is so obvious...

    that Google is an arm of the U.S. government/secret services, and has been bolstered and supported by them as a means of keeping tabs on we, the people. It's a nice cosy arrangement - Google provide them with the data they want while they themselves get filthy rich. The scrotes.

  28. Luke McCarthy

    All Hail Google

    ...Touched by His googly appendage.

  29. Julian Bond

    You couldn't make it up

    Mr and Mrs Boring? really?

  30. Goat Jam
    Paris Hilton

    A road shared with their neighbours

    So when their neighbours come and go, they use this road? When the FedEx guy arrives to deliver something he uses the road? If a neighbour orders a pizza, the pizza guy drives up the road?

    And all of them can see into their pool.

    Whether there is a "Private Road" sign or not, it would appear to me that this road is still publicly accessible and Google may in fact have a point.

    No matter who wins in the end, the poor old Borings have already invoked the Striesand Effect and lost any chance of remaining anonymous.

    Paris, because she doesn't give a hoot about privacy

  31. Dr Patrick J R Harkin


    Anyone remember the episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson was showing a car so small he was able to take it INTO the BBC building and attend a meeting whilst inside it?

    Any chance we could lay our hands on one of those, duct tape a camera to it and drive it into Google's HQ?

  32. Neil

    What would happen

    If I went to Mountain View and started walking around taking pics of everything at the campus?

    Would I be invited in for tea, or would some security bloke ask me to leave?

    Flash mob time!

  33. David Whitney


    Regardless of their doing of evil and the fact that they are trying to avoid punishment with the statement, it does hold. The battle for privacy is already lost and only due dilegence can combat it.

  34. A M Street
    Thumb Down

    Walk away

    I used to be a big fan of Google in their beta days. I used to point everyone at the site and was really pleased to get away from all the clutter and adverts of their competitors. That said I wouldn't touch Google with a barge pole these days. They are overbearing, arrogant and far too big for their boots.

    My solution? I currently use Alta Vista, yes it's still about, though I have been looking at Cuil and once the teething troubles are over may well move to them.

    So don't use Google if you are unhappy just vote with your mouse and leave. After all, we made them what they are today and hopefully we can cut them down to size.

  35. Tim Spence

    Neither for nor against

    I'm neither *for* the Borings in this case, but I'm not exactly *for* Google here either, despite being a geek who loves Street View.

    I don't like the attitude that is presented; the implication by Google that trespass onto private land is okay so long as it's really easy to do and there are no physical barriers stopping us.

    Also, on the fact that it's private land and there's a sign which says so; "Plaintiff's allegation of a 'private road' sign at the top of their street standing alone is insufficient to negate Google's privileged and trivial entry upon Plaintiff's property."

    So they're also suggesting that Google is above having to read signs, and signs such as these do not apply to Google? Or perhaps the sign wasn't big enough, or there weren't enough of them? Maybe for Google to take note and heed any signs they need to be in big neon lights? I wonder if the Street View cars have to pay attention to speed limit signs.

    I'm normally a big Google fan, and as I say whilst I don't agree with the Boring's whinings here, I don't agree with the tact which Google is using to win this case.

    Just make some apologies, delete their pictures, and go on your way.

  36. Dave N

    running rings around the laws

    'bout time someone pulled them up on this one. if this was my property, I'd not let this go...

  37. The BigYin


    The "Restatement" to me reads like you should expect the usual inconveniences from individuals; "Hi, can I borrow a bowl of sugar" etc. I do not think it covers the all-pervasive actions of a corporate entity.

    Obviously one must bear the driver screwing up and taking pictures where they shouldn't, but one should also expect the company to show oversight and compare the GPS info to known "no pics, please" locations and to also takedown/obfuscate the photographs on request.

    Hmm, perhaps people should trespass all over the Google officer's properties and publish the photos on the web. See how they like it.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again; Google is the new "Evil Empire".

  38. b

    Even in the desert you might get mugged

    So give us your wallet.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    You so sure?

    Richard Branson is doing a fine job, I'd say.

    Back to the real world - Google should be ashamed. The law is very plain in this respect (I hope), and claiming they are somehow above that is rather disgusting.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Privacy in the sky!

    I need an apartment in the sky, like the Deckard's apartment where I can get some privacy.

    Wait, the Skycars are coming! Now I need to install tinfoil drapes in the windows...

  41. Chronos
    Black Helicopters

    Re: Do no Evil?

    You misread their mission statement, especially the bit at the end in white ink on a white background. Scanning tunnelling microscopy reveals that Google's motto is and always has been:

    "Do no evil because we are watching you."

  42. Bruno Girin


    “…even in today’s desert, complete privacy does not exist.”

    In this case, does it mean that Google know where Osama bin Laden is hiding and that they should be brought to court for not giving him up?

  43. IHateWearingATie

    Come on people...

    .... so many comments and not one pun including their Boring surname!

  44. This post has been deleted by its author

  45. Andy ORourke

    @Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    "Anyone remember the episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson was showing a car so small he was able to take it INTO the BBC building and attend a meeting whilst inside it"

    Quick, Patent this idea or copyright it or something. Officeview, the next level of mapping from Google, shortly to be followed by Colonview so that you can zoom from space to your place of work to your desk and dissapear up your own arse!

  46. Anonymous Coward

    Those with nothing to hide...

    ...have nothing to fear.

    I assume the people complaining about this are the same ones who complain about the attempts to protect us from criminals and terrorists with ID systems etc.


    Were the Borings engaged in any illegal activity? No. Move on. Although one does wonder what they are trying to hide.

  47. Andraž Levstik

    @A road shared with their neighbours

    All the cases you are pointing to have one thing in common:

    The people there have either an implicit or explicit permission to come and go.

    I.e. pizza deliver I ordere a pizza so you have the right and obligation to come and deliver it to

    the agreed destination. FedEx etc... here it's implicit... they need to deliver it to the location BUT

    they could always ring up before hand and thus get the permission...

    Googlecars have neither an implicit or explicit permission to come...

  48. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Those with nothing to hide...

    By God, did you really just invoke that old bollocks f'real?

    If you've got nothing to hide, tell us all what you earn and post up a link to a picture of yourself in the naked holding up the most embarrassing record you own.

    You're not only posting anonymously there, but I can see you have a psuedonymous identity. Come on, what are you hiding? Oh my... you're... you're Bin Laden, aren't you? Guards! GUARDS!


  49. Anonymous Coward



    Ok, ok. I'll stop trolling. It's been fun though.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thesd days, nowhere on the planet is completely safe...

    ...therefore it must be all right for me to murder people, even if they have a sign up asking not to be murdered.

  51. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @Sarah

    Damn right. I'll be round your gaff with a camera and a hot poker.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re : What's the problem? Anonymous a

    Rik, is your first name spelt with a silent "p" or something? The problem is that this is the thin edge of the wedge.

    We reluctantly allowed the government to use CCTV almost 20 years ago. Now we are the most spied upon nation in the world. The government claimed it was "for our safety". How many convictions have there been as a result of CCTV footage in all that time? Less than 20.

    If we allow Google to get away with this shit now, where will we be in 20 years time?

    And to a previous poster, your rationalisation is bullshit. the hypothetical Fedex van and Pizza delivery bloke clearly have business with residents of that private road, so they can obviously use it. Google's only business there was to take pictures.

  53. Anonymous Coward


    Arf! Promises, promises.

    No - I am not Max Moseley.

  54. Zmodem

    put a

    altavista box on all your sites amd google wont be able to waste billions, vista pages went simplified and resembles google years ago

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No semantic parsing

    Their street sign needed to say :

    Googlebot CONTENT="nofollow"

  56. TeeCee Gold badge

    @AC Re: @Sarah

    Now that's been done and said, you can get the T-shirt (gratuitous Cash 'n Carrion plug).

    Back to the topic: I'd have thought that the issue of whether there is or is not not a Private/No Entry sign at the end of the Boring's road could be settled with a quick look at, er, Google Streetview...............

  57. J. Schadler
    Paris Hilton

    @ Andraž Levstik

    Under US federal law, and the laws of every state as far as I am aware, a driveway, street, or walkway servicing a residence is considered public area unless means are taken to prevent traffic (such as a gate). This means the pizza guy, the mormon missionary, the postman, the cops, and Google can drive or walk up to your house unmolested.

    Paris 'cause I'd prefer not to be unmolested when servicing her residence.

  58. druck Silver badge

    Not satellite

    Satellite images, at least the ones google uses, aren't a threat to privacy, as you wont even see your house unless its the size of the googleplex. All the high resolution overhead shots are _aerial_ photography.

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